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Today marks the beginning of spring and the end of a long, brutal winter for much of the United States. With the start of a new season comes a fresh opportunity to find ways to save energy and money.
Here are just a few simple things you can do to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home as warmer temperatures arrive:
1. Service your air conditioner. Easy maintenance such as routinely replacing or cleaning air filters can lower your cooling system’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent. Also, the first day of spring could serve as a reminder to check your air conditioner’s evaporator coil, which should be cleaned annually to ensure the system is performing at optimal levels.
2. Open windows. Opening windows creates a cross-wise breeze, allowing you to naturally cool your home without switching on air conditioners. This is an ideal tactic in spring when temperatures are mild.
3. Use ceiling fans. Cooling your home with ceiling fans will allow you to raise your thermostat four degrees. This can help lower your electricity bills without sacrificing overall comfort.
4. Cook outside. On warmer spring days, keep the heat out of your home by using an outdoor grill instead of indoor ovens.
5. Install window treatments. Energy efficient window treatments or coverings such as blinds, shades and films can slash heat gain when temperatures rise. These devices not only improve the look of your home but also reduce energy costs.
6. Caulk air leaks. Using low-cost caulk to seal cracks and openings in your home keeps warm air out -- and cash in your wallet.
7. Bring in sunlight. During daylight hours, switch off artificial lights and use windows and skylights to brighten your home.
8. Set the thermostat. On warm days, setting a programmable thermostat to a higher setting when you are not at home can help reduce your energy costs by approximately 10 percent.
9. Seal ducts. Air loss through ducts can lead to high electricity costs, accounting for nearly 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption. Sealing and insulating ducts can go a long way toward lowering your electricity bills.
10. Switch on bathroom fans. Bathroom fans suck out heat and humidity from your home, improving comfort.