Spring is the perfect time to get your house tidied up and in shape for summer fun. It's also a good time to consider new ways to save energy and green your lifestyle. Small steps can add up to big savings.
Try these 10 tips:
- Give your fridge the once-over
Pull out your refrigerator and clean beneath and behind it; this can improve its efficiency. While you're at it, check to make sure the door seals are tight: Put a dollar bill in the door as you close it and see if it holds firmly in place. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy offers even more energy-saving refrigerator tips.
- Replace your filter
A dirty air filter makes your heating and air conditioning equipment work harder. Changing the filter monthly during periods of heavy use can provide energy savings up to 15 percent. Save even more by installing a programmable thermostat.
- Reverse the fans
As the temperature rises, reverse your ceiling fans so that they run counterclockwise. This summer setting creates a downward airflow that makes your skin feel cooler.
- Consider attic ventilation
Attic ventilation systems (also known as whole-house fans) draw cool air up through the house, providing nearly the same level of comfort as air conditioners, but at a much lower cost. Whole-house fans start around $200. While you're up there, check whether you have enough attic insulation.
- Try new window treatments
If you're redecorating, consider insulated, thermal-backed drapes. On hot summer days, they can block out the sun and help keep your home cooler. For more ideas, see this guide to energy-saving window treatments (PDF) from Cornell University.
- Clean the tracks
If you have a sliding door, make sure the track is clean. Dirt buildup from foot traffic in winter and early spring can damage the door seal and create gaps where cool air can escape.
- Plant some shade
Planting a shade tree along the south or west side of your home will help shield it from summer sun, keeping you cooler and reducing your energy bill. (For more details, see our tree planting guide.)
- Air-dry your laundry
When warm weather arrives, consider an outdoor clothesline. Air-drying saves on energy costs and is gentler on your clothes, helping them last longer. You can also save by using cool water in the washer and running only full loads.
- Try a new ride to work
Walking or biking to work — or to public transportation — provides exercise, saves you fuel, and helps reduce traffic pollution and congestion.
- Take advantage of PG&E financial incentives
If you're considering some home improvement projects this spring, check out the incentives available through Energy Upgrade California. By working with participating contractors, you can choose from two incentive options, depending on your budget and the extent of improvements:
Income-qualified renters and homeowners may be eligible for free home improvements that save energy. Visit PG&E's Energy Savings Assistance Program to see if you qualify.