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Home Page > Consumer Assistance > Consumer Tips > Tip of the Week

Consumer Tip Monday, March 15, 2010

Save Money During Spring Break

The pleasant spring days between winter’s chill and summer’s heat are ideal for cleaning the home heating and cooling system.

More than half of the average home’s utility bill is spent on air conditioning and heating, so a little spring cleaning can save a lot of money!

To make your home more efficient, adopt a whole house approach. The system must be working properly so that outside air is not coming into the house and inside air is not escaping out.

Here are some “spring cleaning” ideas to help save energy and money:

• Make sure your air conditioning system or unit(s) is clean and working properly.  Perform a maintenance check and clean the evaporator and condenser coils.

• Change the filter(s).

• Inspect ductwork for leaks and kinks. In a typical house, about 20 percent of the air moving through the duct system is lost due to leaks and poorly sealed connections. Seal leaks in exposed ducts in attics, basements, crawlspaces, and garages with duct sealant (also called duct mastic). Insulating ducts that run through spaces that get hot in summer or cold in winter (attics, garages, or crawlspaces) can save significant energy.

• Make sure all air vents throughout your home are open and unblocked.

• Check the caulking around your home’s windows and doors, and replace old or cracked caulking.
• Add weather stripping to doors and windows so air does not leak out. 

• Check attics, basements, recessed lighting, outlets and crawlspaces for air leaks and seal the leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping.

• Close the fireplace damper to prevent inside air from escaping up the chimney.

• Check the thermostat settings for efficiency. Experts recommend setting the air conditioning at 78 degrees in the summer and the heat to 68 degrees in the winter.

• If the house has an attic fan, make sure the fan is working properly.

• Make sure your insulation is adequate in your attic, walls, basement, and crawlspaces.

• When replacing an air conditioning/heating system or unit, consider an efficient Energy Star model.

• Ask your local utility to perform an energy audit on your home. Many utilities offer free audits.

Check out our video showing examples of some of these practical tips.

Save money during Spring Break
Youtube video