Spring Home Maintenance: Ways to Save Energy In The Spring
April 6, 2020
Depending on where you live, your home may have gone through a wide range of conditions over the winter months. Rain, wind or even snow may have damaged your roof or landscaping, debris may have clogged your air conditioning system and frost or ice may have caused cracks in your home’s foundation.
With warm weather coming your way, it’s important to thoroughly inspect the inside and outside of your home for any deficiencies that may be creating gaps in your energy efficiency and letting money fly out the window on your next energy bill.
We've created a handy spring home maintenance checklist to help you prepare for the warm months ahead.
Spring Home Maintenance Checklist
Clean the grill! With COVID protocols still in place in some areas, we’re looking for little ways to find joy at home - firing up the BBQ is one of our favorites! Cooking outdoors is also a great way to keep your kitchen cool, so pull out your grill from the garage and clean it up. If it’s a gas grill, make sure you have a full tank and check the lines to make sure there aren’t any holes or cracks.
Inspect your home’s siding and roof to make sure winter storms didn’t cause any damage. Depending on where you live, cracking ice, downed tree limbs and maybe even the weight of snow could have dislodged shingles or siding. This can create holes in your building ‘envelope’, letting in outside air, bugs and small creatures AND letting temperature-controlled air out into the world, which can get expensive on your energy bill! If you’re handy, you can DIY fix any issues you find or if not, hire someone to help.
Open the windows on warmer days. If we’re going to be spending lots of time indoors, we need that fresh air even more. Don’t forget to turn off the heat or air conditioning and then open the doors and windows when the temperature warms up. This allows your home to air out any built-up pollutants or humidity.
Clean your air conditioning unit and get it inspected. Remove any fallen leaves from inside or around the unit and dust, vacuum or spray the condenser fins to get off remaining dirt and debris. After you do that, replace the filter inside the house. That unit will be working hard come summer and you want to make sure it’s in tip top shape.
Plant native or USDA Zone-appropriate flowers, bushes and trees. Consider yourself a green thumb? If you need to replace any plants in your yard or on your property, try to make sure they are the kind that grow naturally in your climate. This means they will require less water and will thrive with less care. Less work for you!
While we’re on the topic of the outdoors, don’t over-water the lawn. Your grass probably needs less water than you think. The general rule of thumb is 1 inch of water per week. No need to leave the sprinkler running all afternoon since in many places, rain provides most, if not all of this!
Caulk around windows and doors to seal any cracks. Harsh winter weather may have damaged the seals around your doors and windows. Check to make sure you don’t see or feel any cracks. If you do, use a caulking gun to fill them.
Switch the direction of your ceiling fan. We know - this one sounds a bit silly. How much of a difference can the direction of your ceiling fan make? Surprisingly, quite a bit! In the winter, your ceiling fans should be rotating clockwise on low speed to distribute the rising warm air around the room. In the summer, the fan should turn counter-clockwise to force air down into the room to help cool its occupants.
Clean off the refrigerator coils. Clean the what now? Never in my routine of ‘spring cleaning’ was the refrigerator part of my list but if we’re talking about energy-saving, it’s a must do. As the weather warms and your pets start to shed - hair, fur and dust can collect on the coils making the refrigerator need to work harder. A long-handled brush is perfect for cleaning coils on the bottom or back of the refrigerator. It doesn’t give you the same satisfaction as dusting off a front-and-centre bookshelf but the rewards are equally exciting.
Change the settings for lights that are on a timer. You may have set indoor or outdoor lights on a timer so there’s light when you get home. Now that the afternoons are getting longer, you may be able to reset it for later or turn it off altogether. And bask in the longer hours of sunshine!
Katie is an award-winning journalist and digital strategist with more than 10 years of experience in print and digital media and a passion for the environment and fighting climate change.
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