Celebrating spring in North Texas is a wonderful thing. We’ve got parades and jamborees, storytelling, auto shows, sporting events and more. We can celebrate things greening up at home, too. Let’s start with some low and no-cost ways to add more green in our wallets.
Start by cleaning up your act. It needs to be done anyway, and spring cleaning can actually save you money. For instance, when you change your air filters and clean the duct covers of your HVAC system, it will not have to work as hard to circulate the air through the house, and so it will use less electricity. Your refrigerator will also run more efficiently if you clean its condenser coils, defrost it, and wipe down the interior. Believe it or not, you can also save money by washing your windows. Sunlight is free lighting for your home, and it’s more effective if grime isn’t in the way!
There are lots of small changes you can make at home that add up to big savings in your utility bills over time. Take lighting, for instance. If you focus on using less energy to light your home, you can cut down a whole lot on electricity usage. You can also wait to turn on lights during the day for as long as you can, instead open your curtains and blinds to enjoy natural light. Consider installing solar tube or skylights in your home. Often, they eliminate the need for daytime use of electric lighting entirely. To reduce your consumption even further, install dimmer switches and energy-efficient bulbs. Finally, remember to turn off lights when you leave a room.
If you’ve got rooms that are difficult to heat or cool evenly, or rooms that are always stuffy, you might have some problems with your air ducts. Inspect your air ducts to see if they need to be sealed properly. Often ducts in attics and garages can get tangled or kinked, or the original seals can break over time, especially if the installer used duct tape. If you can access your ducts, seal leaks using mastic sealant or metal tape and insulate all the ducts that you can reach. Check the connections at vents and registers where they meet the floors, walls, and ceiling. These are often places where ductwork becomes disconnected. Change your filters and vacuum your duct covers and
Speaking of drafts, it’s a good time of year to replace the caulk and weather-stripping around your windows and doors – before the spring storms hit and leaks happen. While you’re at it, install foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls. Those drafty plates can really drive up your summer cooling bills.
Unplug electronics when they’re not being used. Many electronics draw power when they’re plugged in, even if they’re switched off. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of plugging your into a power strip and switching the whole strip off when not in use to prevent this.
If you plan on doing energy efficient improvements to your home this year, including having professionals identify and fix drafts and leaks, adding insulation, upgrading appliances, thermostats, water heater, or HVAC system this year, you may be able to get some of the cost covered by your electricity delivery provider. Check takealoadofftexas.com before you spend to see if you and your project qualify.
The MetroTex Association of REALTORS is the largest professional real estate association in North Texas. Comprised of more than 18,000 real estate professionals, MetroTex is celebrating 100 years of service to the community in 2017. To connect with a MetroTex Realtor, or to find information about buying, leasing, or selling a home in North Texas, visit dfwrealestate.com.