Spring is here! It's officially t-shirt weather here in the south, and that means pic-nics, cookouts, and catching that spring cleaning bug! It's always so rewarding to clean house and simplify, but did you know that there are some spring cleaning projects that can help your home be more energy efficient? These are quick, easy, and should save you some money in the end.
There are a few ways that you can clean out the fridge and make it more efficient. The biggest one is cleaning those coils. You can save 6% of your fridge's energy output just by doing this one little thing a couple of times a year. Cleaning the coils is pretty simple:
- Pull your fridge away from the wall and unplug it.
- If there's a metal plate covering the coils, carefully remove it.
- Check out all of that dust!
- Use the skinny vacuum attachment and a brush to clear away the dust.
- If things are really gross, you can wipe them down with warm, soapy water, and let the coils dry completely.
- Replace the back plate, plug it in, and move your fridge back against the wall. To be really efficient, you ideally want it about 2" from the wall.
Another way to save energy in the fridge is to clean out the contents. You want it to be full, but not so packed that air can't efficiently circulate. Plus, now's your chance to get rid of that mystery container of leftovers that you don't remember shoving in the back there. A win-win!
Keeping your dishwasher clean saves energy and water. For most modern dishwashers if you clean it a few times a year, you can totally skip pre-rinsing and soaking dishes in hot water and avoid having to re-wash you dishes. The best time to clean the dishwasher is right after you've run and unloaded it...the water and heat from the cycle will make it easier to de-gunk. Here's how to clean it:
- Cut the power or unplug.
- Pull out the trays that would hold the dishes, and wipe them down with a vinegar and water mixture.
- Check the spinning arms and vents in there, clearing out any debris with an old toothbrush and a rag.
- Do the same on the door.
- Use that same toothbrush to clean around the edges of the door, where it seals closed.
You can also save energy by making sure that you only run your dishwasher when it's totally full.
3. Air Conditioner
You can save 5%-15% on cooling costs just by making sure that the filter in your wall unit or portable air conditioner is clean. This is super simple to do, and you should change the air filter in your home 2-4 times a year. Here's how!
- Take a peek at the filter that's in there to find the size you need, then head to the hardware store to pick up a replacement.
- Before you pull out the old filter, take a look at how it's inserted. You'll want to insert your replacement in the same direction.
- Pull out the old filter, and slide the new one into place
I wanted to include resources for recycling your old air filter but couldn't find anything. Have any of you guys seen recycling places that take used air filters? Any ideas on how you could reuse at least part of the old one?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by jaymiek