Ask the Expert: Prepare your home for spring
Feb. 28, 2012
Here at ProudGreenHome we once again turned to our Approved Contributing Experts to ask a pertinent question about all things green. This time, we asked what are the best ways to prepare your home for spring to maximize energy efficiency?
Farah Ahmed, a fifth-year architecture student at the City College of New York provided her insights:
With the spring weather coming, it may be getting warmer and that means you need to save on cooling costs. There are a few ways to be both energy and cost efficient for the upcoming spring season:
- Clean your AC unit filters — a dirty filter has to work much harder to keep the cooling going! Changing the filter every one to two months is recommended.
- Maintain your AC unit —The correct level of refrigerant and a clean external coil will keep your AC unit ready for the warm weather. Also, while mowing your lawn, keep your AC turned off, as debris can easily get sucked in.
- Seal leaks and keep home insulated — Doorways and windows are the apparent spots for possible air leaks. Make sure these spots are sealed. Insulation leaks occur commonly around doors and windows. These leaks lead to much wasted energy, so be aware.
- Monitor your thermostat — When away from your home or when sleeping, lower your thermostat. Even lowering it by two degrees results in significantly cheaper cooling costs
- Keep the sun out — closing your blinds, especially on the sides of your house facing the sun, will reduce solar heat gain. Consider investing in insulating blinds which will help lower temperatures.
- Keep air flowing — use fans to circulate the air, which will help keep your body cool. Body moisture will disappear, and body temperature will lower.
- Avoid heat-inducing activities — cooking is one major source. Eating cooler foods, like fruits and vegetables, and using a grill as opposed to a stovetop, are two simple ways. Light is another major source of heat. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights can save you both heat and electricity.
Read more about energy-efficient heating and cooling.
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.