SPRING CLEANING: Small measures to improve your home’s energy efficiency

Emily Osborne, Green Iowa AmeriCorps Audit Coordinator

Got a bored teenager and want to lower your energy bills? If so, here is a quick list of opportunities to kill two birds with one stone! 

Make natural cleaners.

  • As our nation transitions to a chemical-free food system, why not apply the same mentality towards our cleaning supplies? Creating your personal cleaner reduces your home’s exposure to unknown chemicals, helps the environment, and saves you money. Plus, you can customize the scent!  Here are basic recipes to help get you started.

Clean refrigerator coils.

  • Dust and other debris can accumulate on your refrigerator coils that force your appliance to work harder and thus spike your energy bills. It may take some effort to reach them but well worth it in the end.

Dust off electronics, light bulbs, and light fixtures.

  • Similar to your refrigerator coils, remembering to clean your electronics and light bulbs is often a missed opportunity for reducing your energy bills and environmental impact. Bonus tip: While you are cleaning, check to make sure you have energy efficient light bulbs (i.e. LEDs)! Investing in LEDs not only has a quick payback period, but it can significantly reduce your home’s risk of fire.

Clean sliding doors.

  • Remember to clean around doorframes. Dirt can accumulate around the door’s track and create holes that allow indoor air to escape and outdoor air to infiltrate. 

Programmable Thermostat.

  • Presetting your home’s temperature can reduce your heating and cooling costs by 10%. While you are away from the home, program your thermostat to a higher temperature to prevent unnecessary cooling.

Check ceiling fan direction.

  • During the warmer months, you will want your ceiling fan rotating in a counterclockwise direction. The air current will create a cool breeze underneath the fan.

Ensure your home is well sealed!

  • Approximately 30% of a home’s heating and cooling efforts escape through air leaks. Try locating areas in your home that allow an abnormal amount of outdoor to infiltrate. Unsure of where to begin? Lucky for Northeast Iowans, the Green Iowa AmeriCorps team happens to specialize in locating and sealing unwanted air leaks. For more information about our services click here!
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