Spring clean your appliances

Electric co-op mascot Willie Wiredhand says even his socket needs the cobwebs swept out now and then. His pal Vic the Vac insists “now” is always better than waiting till “then” (especially in Willie’s case).

Spring’s renewal traditionally means cleaning time, too: sweeping out the winter dirt from the garage, washing the windows, scrubbing the floors … While you’re spiffing up the house, don’t neglect your appliances:

  • Dust the refrigerator. Refrigerators exchange heat through a system of coils. A buildup of dust and pet hair will make the unit run longer to have the same cooling effect and use more electricity. Vacuum the coils on the back and underneath to increase efficiency.
  • Dust the lamps. A buildup of dust on lightbulbs and lamp shades can reduce the amount of light given off, maybe causing you to turn on more lights. Keeping them dust-free will let lights shine as intended.
  • Clean the oven. Cleaning your stove/oven can actually save energy. A range or oven that is darkened from heavy use can absorb more heat and ultimately reduce its efficiency.
  • Change your filters. The air filter on your furnace /heat pump should be checked monthly for signs of dirt and changed every 3-6 months, depending on dirt accumulation. Buildup obstructs air flow and makes your HVAC system less efficient.
  • Clean your dryer. Lint buildup can prevent your clothes dryer from running efficiently. To clean the vent, first unplug the dryer. Then remove the tubing from the back and vacuum in and around it. If you are able to remove the front panel of your dryer, vacuum inside it as well.
    If you don’t have access to the dryer vent tubing from the dryer to its outside vent because it’s in a wall or ceiling; cannot dismantle, clean and reassemble the sections yourself; or just don’t want the hassle of doing it yourself; hire a professional maintenance technician to clean your dryer vent annually … more or less frequently depending on how much laundry you do. A vent closing up with lint will cause the dryer to leave clothes damp or make it run longer. Too much buildup of lint can pose a fire hazard.
  • Audit your home. With warmer temperatures coming, now is a great time to consider taking your energy savings to the next level. Most electric cooperatives have energy advisors who will come to your home and conduct a thorough inspection to identify both large and small things you can do to improve its energy efficiency. Give your co-op a call.