You can turn your home into a more comfortable place to live—and turn your energy bills more manageable—by doing the simplest maintenance on your appliances, air conditioning system and even your faucets and windows.
Here are 20 routine chores that can make a big difference. For some, you’ll need professional help. But you can do others yourself in a matter of minutes.
- Turn twice-a-year maintenance on your air conditioning and heating system into a habit. A qualified air conditioner technician (or a plumber, if the furnace is gas-powered) will inspect cabinets, motors, fan blades, the control box, wiring, the blower assembly and other parts as needed, and alert you to any problems-in-the-making that you can take care of before they become disasters.
- Turn off your air conditioner when you run your evaporative cooler—and vice versa. When you run them at the same time, you’ll actually waste energy because the two systems will compete with each other. The evap cooler works by adding moisture to the air, and the a/c works by removing it.
- Turn the evap cooler off altogether when it’s wet outside. Once the dew point reaches 50 degrees or more, an evaporative cooler is not very effective. Tip: Remember the Rule of 140. If the temperature plus the dew point equals 140 or more, then don’t expect much out of your evap. If you have an a/c with a SEER rating of 12 or higher, then go ahead and turn it on.
- Turn on your ceiling fans. Ceiling fans don’t cool the air; they move it around so the air in that room feels cooler. That means you can inch the thermostat up by three to four degrees without noticing a difference in your comfort.
- Turn off your standard light bulbs. As they burn out, replace those energy-inefficient incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. They use 75 percent less energy, so you can save $30 by replacing just one incandescent with a CFL.
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