Top 7 spring home maintenance tips to improve energy efficiency
The arrival of spring usually means that our spring-cleaning to-do lists start taking shape. As you start your checklist, include a few home inspection items to make sure your home is ready for summer months that bring everything from sweltering heat to severe thunderstorms.
Here are seven Spring Home Maintenance Tips to help your home run more smoothly for better energy efficiency and lower energy bills:
1. Clear debris from gutters and downspouts. Guiding rain and storm water off your roof and away from the foundation of your house is critical to its well-being. That’s why it’s so important that gutters are kept clean and free from debris. Clogged gutters allow water to collect at the base of your home where it can penetrate basement walls. Standing water underneath your home can lead to mold, water damage and flooding.
2. Inspect the insulation in your attic. Stats tell us that anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of your home’s energy escapes through the attic, but only about 40 percent of homes are properly insulated. Attic insulation can decrease from R30 to R11 in less than seven years. If you haven’t checked the insulation in your attic in a while, now is a good time.
3. Program your thermostat for warmer weather. Programmable thermostats allow you to reduce energy usage when you’re away at work or when you’re sleeping. When used correctly, they can help you save on your heating and cooling bills. Oftentimes, homeowners with these programmable devices forget to change the settings as winter turns to spring and summer.
4. Check for even temperatures throughout your home. Uneven temperatures throughout your home can direct us to an airflow problem, but it also may direct us to another problem such as incorrect refrigerant charge or a moisture removal problem. An easy way you can check this yourself is to place small, inexpensive oven thermometers at air registers in different rooms of your house. Usually, we want the variation of temperature room-to-room to be 2 degrees or less.
5. Flush your hot water tank. At Davis Services, we recommend that homeowners flush their hot water tanks once each year, so adding this to your spring maintenance checklist is a good idea. Chlorine and sulfur found in water leaves sediment inside the tank and can wear out elements inside the tank.
6. Change your home’s air filter. Air filters in your home typically fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” category but they are extremely important to HVAC system efficiency. At Davis Services, we recommend that you replace the air filter in your home every time you pay your power bill, especially if you have indoor pets or are a homeowner with allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues. Remember, proper air flow is directly related to system efficiency.
7. Weatherize your home. Weatherization often is a topic during the colder months, but sealing leaky windows and doors, fireplaces and attic openings also will keep cool air from escaping your home during spring and summer. Applying caulk to the outside edges of door casings or installing weather stripping to the inside of doorjambs can help prevent leaks. And you can stop under-door drafts with a door sweep along the bottom.
About the Author
Nick Davis is co-owner of Spartanburg-based Davis Services, Inc. He grew up in the company, learning the business through jobs in installation, maintenance, home performance and residential sales of conventional and geothermal systems. Nick serves as the company’s marketing director and coordinator of Davis Services’ apprenticeship program.