The cleaner your house is, the more you could save on your energy bill. While you’re scrubbing your home from floor to ceiling this year, give these elements a good cleaning:
Air-conditioning filters. Keeping them clean—or changing them regularly if they’re disposable—ensures that air easily can pass through them when you run your air conditioner. That helps your system run more efficiently, which means it uses less energy. Plus, a clean filter helps prevent irritants such as dust and pollen from blowing through your AC vents.
Ceiling fans. How often do you climb up high enough to dust the tops and bottoms of the blades—and, if they’re attached to a light, to wipe down the bulb? While you’re up there, flip the switch that controls the direction of the fan blades. In the summer, you want the blades to push air down into the room, not pull it up toward the ceiling.
Lightbulbs. The fan light is not the only bulb that has been collecting dust all year. After turning off fixtures, use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down bulbs in ceiling fixtures, lamps and sconces. Remove decorative covers and carefully rinse them with warm, sudsy water. Dry thoroughly before replacing them.
Vents. They’re something most people never clean. Remove wall and ceiling vent covers with a screwdriver and rinse them with water. Don’t replace them until they’re completely dry. Like filters, clean vents help your AC system with air circulation and cut down on any airborne particles that might get trapped in your house.
Electronics and appliances. At least once a year, crawl behind every TV set, computer, printer, refrigerator, washer and dryer in your home to dust off the cords, wipe down the back of the appliance and vacuum the floor. If your refrigerator has an ice maker, you might need to ask a plumber for assistance; you don’t want to accidentally pull the plumbing connection out of the wall. While the fridge is away from the wall, vacuum any exposed coils.
Dryer vent. You know how full of fuzz and pet hair the lint tray in your dryer is after every load of clothes? The vent that spews the hot air from the dryer to the outdoors is even more full. Ask an electrician to clean your dryer vent at least once a year. If it’s too clogged, your dryer won’t operate efficiently. In extreme cases, the lint in that clogged vent can catch fire.