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Spring into savings with CUB’s energy efficiency tips

It’s time to get your home ready for warmer weather. Remember: Energy efficiency is just as important during the spring and summer as it is during the winter so make sure to include these home maintenance tasks on your spring cleaning checklist:  

  1. Air conditioning maintenance. Clean or replace your air conditioning unit filters every one to two months to ensure proper and efficient performance. Also, have an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) specialist inspect your air conditioner at least yearly. A properly maintained AC system can help you save hundreds a year.
  2. Check your windows and doors. After the cold, wet winter, there may be damage to your windows and doors that could cause cool air to escape, taking your hard-earned money with it. Check for any leaks or cracks and seal them with weatherstripping or caulk, which you can buy for a modest price from the hardware store.
  3. Take out storm windows and doors. Remove your storm windows and replace your glass front doors with screen doors so you can allow natural breezes to circulate in your home on milder days.
  4. Think about investing in fans. By investing in and strategically using floor and ceiling fans, along with other sources of ventilation, you can get away with setting your thermostat one to two degrees higher and save money on your power bills.
  5. Switch the direction of your ceiling fans. If you follow our tips and have a ceiling fan, you should be running it clockwise (from your position, looking up at it) through the colder months  When the weather gets warm, it’s time to run your ceiling fans counterclockwise (CUB instructions on how to do that) to push cool air down. Circulating cool air will reduce the need for your air conditioner to work as hard, saving energy and money. Don’t forget to turn off the fan when you leave the room–fans cool people, not rooms. (Bonus tip: If you haven’t used your ceiling fans since last summer, be sure to wipe down the blades to remove any dust that has accumulated.)
  6. Upgrade your thermostat. If you want more control of your energy bills this summer, consider replacing your old thermostat with a programmable one or a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats use sensors that continuously monitor temperature, humidity, and other variables throughout your house. According to Energystar.gov, on average, smart thermostats save customers 8% on heating and cooling bills yearly.
  7. Get a free assessment. Many utilities offer home energy assessments at no cost to the customer. During these assessments, an expert will go over any energy efficiency opportunities in your home and may even provide you with free products to get you going in the right direction. Inquire with your electric company about such services. Here’s info about ComEd’s program, which offers extra benefits for lower-income customers, and Ameren’s program, which is only for income-qualified customers.
  8. Dust off the grill: Grills keep heat out of the kitchen, meaning air conditioners don’t have to work harder to cool it off. There are a lot of tips on healthy and environmentally sound ways to grill, here are some from The Washington Post. If you don’t have a grill, consider using the microwave to cook on especially hot days.

With these items checked off your list, you can enjoy the warm weather knowing you’ve made your home more energy-efficient to hold down summer electric bills. For more tips, visit CUB’s Clean Energy page.