Friday, March 5, 2010

It’s official. Spring will arrive at 1:32 p.m. on March 20.

So while we continue to wish all this snow would leave already, here are energy-saving tips you can do to get a little spring in your step.

Fans: Now’s the time to make sure all your fans are clean and working properly. Make sure the blades are dust free and cords are in good repair. Dirty fans can draw slightly more electricity to use. Also check your filters. Wash them or replace them.

Change the direction of your ceiling fan. Blades should turn clockwise to draw warm air up to cool the room.

Refrigerator: Pull your fridge out and check the condenser coils on the back for dust and pet fur. Dirty coils means the motor will work harder and use that much more electricity. While you’re at it, check the door seals to make sure they are clean and tight. Pay special attention to the top seal. You often can’t see what’s building up on there as you store stuff on top of the fridge.

Keeping your refrigerator clean can have a big impact on your wallet. The fridge accounts for about 12 percent of total household energy use.

Water heaters: Make sure your tank is scale-free. Scale is dissolved minerals that can build up at the bottom of your tank. Unfortunately, hot water causes scale, so it’s another good reason to turn the temperature below 120 F. Scale should be flushed each year. To do this, consult your owner's manual or contact a plumber.

Lawn mower: Consider buying an electric version. The benefits are many. They are much easier to maintain since there are fewer moving parts. They don’t emit greenhouse gases. And, they can save you money. An electric mower may only use $3 in electricity a year while a gas-powered version can go through $3 in fuel in a few weeks. Electric versions come in corded, which means you need a smaller yard and a spot to plug in, or battery-powered, which can charge while not in use.

Landscaping: Plants and trees help lower your home’s heating and cooling needs. The leaves of deciduous trees shade your home from the sun in summer. Vines planted on the south side of your home can also reflect the summer sun.