Cleaning tips for energy efficiency
Does it ever feel like you're cleaning the same spots over and over again? It can be tricky to break out of your routine, but the places you're forgetting to clean can impact the energy efficiency of your home. Here are six key items you should clean to make your home more energy efficient.
1. Clean refrigerator coils
While you're probably wiping down the shelves inside your fridge, have you ever cleaned behind it? Refrigerators have a motor pumping gas refrigerant through coils to keep everything inside cool and fresh. If those coils get a buildup of dust or pet hair, your fridge will have to work harder to stay cool, exhausting the motor and using more energy.
To clean the refrigerator coils, locate them either behind your fridge or hidden underneath behind a panel. Use a vacuum hose to suck up loose dust and debris and gently wipe the coils directly. Cleaning your refrigerator coils every six months to a year will help keep your fridge running efficiently for longer and help reduce your energy use!
2. Dust and wash house plants
They keep the air in your home clean, so why don't you return the favour? Over time, dust and dirt can build up on the leaves of your plants which can prevent them from properly photosynthesizing and irritate your allergies.
Take small plants to the kitchen sink to give them a lukewarm shower, but avoid using cold water or you could leave blemishes on the leaves. For larger plants, use a damp cloth that can help wipe away any dust that has built up on the leaves.
3. Unclog and clean dryer vent
Have you ever noticed your laundry taking longer to dry or that your clothes are hot to the touch when you unload?
The cause is often a dirty or clogged dryer vent and a sign your dryer vent needs cleaning.
A clean dryer vent not only helps keep your dryer running efficiently, but it also eliminates a dangerous fire hazard in your home. Unplug your dryer and disconnect the dryer duct (you may need a screwdriver for the vent clamp if there is one). Vacuum and brush out the vent to remove lint and debris then reconnect the duct.
To keep excessive amounts of lint from building up overtime in the vent,
you should regularly sweep and dust the area around the dryer and always clean the lint trap after every load. How often you need to clean your dryer vent depends on frequency of use, size of loads and amount of lint on your clothes.
4. Wash range hood filter
The range hood above your stovetop has an important job: pulling smoke, steam and odours through a filter to help keep the air inside your home clean and smelling fresh. It also keeps your walls from yellowing due to a buildup of grease. Over time, your range hood's filter can get dirty and clogged, becoming less effective. A dirty filter can also attract bugs, increase odours and create a fire hazard.
So, what can you do? The good news is that the filter can easily be cleaned and reused. At least once a year, open the screens of your range hood and remove the filter for cleaning. Soak the filter in a sink full of water with a tablespoon of dish soap and ¼ - ½ cup of baking soda, then give it a good scrub using a non-abrasive brush. Rinse, dry and reuse!
5. Replace A/C filters
Turning on your air conditioning can make hot summer nights more bearable but if you've been forgetting to regularly clean your filters, you're likely just recirculating more dust around your home and making your unit work even harder to keep you cool. According to
HVAC.com, there are a few factors that impact how often you need to replace your filter:
- Number of people who live in the home
- The overall air quality in your home (e.g. smoking, pets, etc.)
- The type of filter your air conditioner uses
- 1" disposable filters should be replaced every 1 to 3 months
- Thicker, high-efficiency filter, should be changed once every 6 to 12 months
- Recent construction or remodeling in or around your home
Dirty filters can lead to poor indoor air quality and more dust buildup in vents and around your home. Keeping your filter clean and always having a spare filter handy will keep your air conditioner running smoothly and your home more comfortable.
6. Take care of your vacuum and cleaning supplies
If your vacuum, mop and other cleaning supplies are dirty, everything else will be dirty too. Keeping your supplies in good shape goes beyond just emptying the dust from your vacuum into the trash.
For your vacuum, it means thoroughly washing the inside canister with hot soapy water and checking the manufacturer's instructions for if or how often a filter needs to be replaced. You'll also want to trim any tangled strings or tied up hair in the rotary bars and brush. And for sponges, scrubbing brushes and mops, using hot water and a disinfectant cleaner after every use will prevent unwanted mold and grime.
Remembering to clean these items around your house will help make your home more energy efficient. Do you have a spot you always forget about? Let us know on our
For helpful home hacks to be more energy efficient, discover
9 Ways Your Laundry Routine is Wasting Energy, the
5 Ways You Are Making Your Home Less Efficient or visit our Green Tips, Tricks and Gadgets blog.