On the Energy Front

Spring into Savings with Virginia Energy Sense

                                                                                           By:  Andy Farmer, Virginia Energy Sense

Andy Farmer

For many, springtime means spring cleaning. As you get ready to deep clean your home, consider adding a few energy-saving — and money-saving — home improvements to your to-do list this season.

Breathe Easy With Clean Air Filters
Did you know a dirty air filter can cost you money? When an air filter is clogged, your cooling system has to work harder to distribute air, which increases your energy bill.

Change your air filters once a month to keep your cooling system at peak performance. Another benefit is that you can be sure you’re breathing fresh air — essential for combating seasonal allergies this spring. For added efficiency, consider upgrading to a reusable air filter, which can be washed and lasts up to 10 years.

Break Out the Caulk To Plug Air Leaks
Springtime means warmer weather. If you turn on your air conditioner this season, you’ll want to make sure cool air isn’t escaping through leaks. Inspect your doors, baseboards, and walls for cracks or holes. Then, fill in any leaks with caulk or sealant, which costs less than $10. A little effort now can result in big savings later!

Keep Your Fridge Cold
If you’re cleaning out your refrigerator this spring, don’t forget to check the door. A fridge door that won’t stay closed or leaks cold air is an energy drain and can cause food to spoil faster.

To check whether your fridge is leaking energy, open the door and try to slide a piece of paper between the gasket and the door frame. If the paper slides through, it’s time to replace the gasket.

Run Your Washer and Dryer Efficiently
Making a few changes to laundry day can extend the life of your washer and dryer and save you money. To optimize your wash cycle, avoid using too much detergent, which can extend your rinse time. You also can try washing your clothes in cold water. Unless you’re getting out grease stains, a cold cycle can be just as effective as a warm one while using less energy to heat the water.

The best way to save energy when drying is to air- or line-dry clothes rather than using a dryer. If you do use the dryer, be sure to clean out the lint filter after each load. Emptying the lint filter has the same benefit as replacing or washing your air filters: Air flows more efficiently out of the exhaust vent, so your dryer doesn’t have to work as hard.

To discover more ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, consider conducting a home energy audit. Virginia Energy Sense recently partnered with the nonprofit Viridiant to explain home energy audits, step by step. www.viridiant.org. Save energy all year long with the resources and tips at VirginiaEnergySense.org


Andy Farmer is the manager of Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission.

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