5 EASY Energy Efficiency Projects to Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

By Vernon Trollinger, March 20, 2015, Energy Efficiency, Green

shutterstock_52123711Spring has sprung! All that sunshine and longer days gives you time to tackle jobs around your home that not only might fix problems but help save you money off your energy bill. Pick a warm weekend and let’s get cracking!

1. Clean out those rain gutters and downspouts. From a storm that drops one inch of rain, 1155 square feet (25 x 46.2) of roof will collect about 60 gallons of water. That means an overflowing gutter can dump LOTS of water onto your home’s exterior cladding, increasing chances of infiltrating to rot the wood. Rain gutter holes can be easily patched with a number of materials (including fiberglass auto-body putty).

Downspout decorations are fun, but if you have a leaky basement or have water damage on siding or the foundation then you want to make sure all that roof run-off gets moved as far from you home as possible. Use either flexible downspout extensions or even black flex corrugated drain pipe. During early spring in northern states, buried landscaped conduit pipe can be blocked with ice, preventing the rainwater from draining away. You can slove this by connecting temporary above-ground drain conduit to your downspouts. Eight to ten foot lengths do a good job and are easily stored in the garage.

2. Inspect outside outlets.
After this year’s hard winter, ouside electrical outlets can cause headaches and expense by frequently tripping circuit breakers. The problem is moisture getting inside the outlet box causing a short circuit. This is an easy fix, taking about 15 minutes and requires 25¢ worth of silicon caulk.

First, turn off the circuit breaker to the outside circuit. On each metal outlet box, unscrew and remove the cover and the foam gasket. If you find any signs of moisture or corrosion, then water is getting inside. If there was no foam gasket to remove, then you’ve solved half the problem. After making sure the inside of the box is dry, seal any holes inside with silicon. Replace the foam gasket and cover and then run a bead of silicon all the way around the seam where the cover, gasket, and box meet.

3. Check your attic for roof leaks.
A minor roof leak can ruin hundreds of dollars of insulation without anyone noticing it until a huge, soggy mass breaks through your bedroom ceiling and lands on your pillow. But leaks are often hard to find. Fortunately, rain water leaves stains where it has been. Look for water staining on rafters and sheathing. Common places are around chimneys and valleys where flashing on the roof surface has come loose or been torn. Also check seals around vents, fans ducts, and loose or cracked seals on soil stacks.

4. Verify attic ventilation. Houses already have some passive attic venting built in. Cool air passes through eaves soffiting and enters the attic where absorbs heat. Warmed, it flows out through gable vents (located at the ends of the house roof) or through roof vents, or through ridge vents. As it leaves, it pulls in more cool air into the soffits below and the process repeats.

Check that ventilation openings are clear of any debris such as sticks, leaves, or loose insulation. By keeping your attic space cool and dry, your air conditioner will run less during the summer and you’ll save money.

5. Spring clean!

  • Clean lint out of your dryer venting. Not only does clogged lint cause your dryer to use for energy, it also poses a serious fire hazard.
  • Clean matted dust and pet fur from fridge cooling coils to help keep your refrigerator running efficiently.
  • Change your HVAC Air Filter. Furnace filters collect dust but can clog over in time, making your HVAC run longer and cost you more money. A general rule is to change filters every three months with ones recommended by the model’s manufacturer.
  • Clean AC condenser coils. Over the winter, your air conditoner’s condenser can collect a lot of dust, dirt, and dead leaves. Clearing away twigs and dead leaves as well as hosing out the cooling fins will help it run more efficiently during the summer.

One more thing: Set up a time to have your air conditoning system inspected by a licensed professional HVAC company . They can identify and repair problems at your convenience now before summer heat arrives.

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