As the winter blues begin to fade, the time to start thinking about spring cleaning is quickly approaching.
So, with the help of the Natural Resources Defense Council, we're going room-by-room to share some tips to creating a more energy-efficient home without and costly construction of dangerous demolition.
We'll talk all things bedroom to basement, but let's start in the room where you and your family probably spend the most time.
- Use a smart power strip. Non-smart strips will actually use energy even if the tv, cable box, and video game system are all turned off. Smart strips will actually stop sending power to your electronics when they're off.
- Change your TV settings. Most televisions have settings that can save energy. Some even have sensors that can automatically adjust brightness.
- Don't stream movies on a game console. Just because your XBox or PS4 can stream a movie doesn't mean it's ideal or energy efficient. Consoles can actually use 37-times the energy of a device meant for video streaming.
- Mind your laundry. If your washer and dryer are in the basement, there are a number ways to save energy: cold water washing, washing only with a full load, and using the high-speed spin setting.
- Replace your furnace air filter. A clean air filter keeps your furnace running long without working too hard. Most filters should be replaced every three months.
- Lower your water heater temperature. Most hot water heaters are set at 140 degrees, but 120 degrees works just as well.
- Run only a full dishwasher. Much like your washing machine, don't waste the energy (and water) on a half full washer.
- Upgrade your fridge. Most refrigerators made in the last few years are incredibly more efficient than their older peers. If you can swing it, consider getting a new fridge.
- Get a faucet aerator. Reducing the amount of water coming out of your tap is actually an incredibly cheap and easy way to save a ton of water (and energy).
- Use your ceiling fan year-round. That little switch on your fan, the one most of never use, will actually switch the fan's direction. Clockwise in the winter and counter-clockwise in the summer can adjust your bedroom temp by about 10 degrees both ways.
- Weather-proof your windows. If upgrading drafty windows isn't financially possible, caulk or weather-strip will save energy costs in both the summer and winter months.
- Unplug your phone. Many of us leave our phones plugged in while we sleep. One way to save energy is to charge your phone in the morning as you're getting ready. This eliminates having a fully charged phone being plugged in for hours.
- Get a new showerhead. Switching to an effienct showerhead will save you a ton on both water and energy use.
- LEDs all the way. Consider switching all of your bathroom lights to LEDs. Most brands of LEDs use up to 90% less energy than incandescents.