Banish the dust bunnies and save on your energy bill

Every spring, I get the bug to clean out the whole house.

But then I get half through my daughter’s pajama drawer, tear up at the thought that she’s outgrown all her ...

Tagged: spring cleaning, dust bunnies, saving energy

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Banish the dust bunnies and save on your energy bill

Bunny chills out in the dust.

Maybe this year I’ll be more successful with my spring cleaning if I keep in mind that some projects can also help us save money on our energy bill.

Key Points

  • Spring cleaning projects can help save energy.
  • Dirty fridge coils make the motor work harder.
  • Air leaks in your sliding doors, basement or crawl space make your house less energy efficient. 

Every spring, I get the bug to clean out the whole house.

But then I get half through my daughter’s pajama drawer, tear up at the thought that she’s outgrown all her baby things, and decide that all these items must be kept as precious mementos of her childhood.

That pair of pink footsie pajamas with the strawberry stains is an artifact and must be treasured, right?

Maybe this year I’ll be more successful with my spring cleaning if I keep in mind that some projects can also help us save money on our energy bill. 

Here’s how:

  • Clean the fridge — Refrigerators can use up to 14 percent of a household’s energy. But that fridge can run much more efficiently if it’s clean. Take a deep breath, roll the fridge away from the wall, and brace yourself for what’s hiding behind it (so that’s where the bouncy balls we cried for an hour about losing went!). Vacuum the coils. When things like dust, pet hair, and, say, organic cheddar bunny cracker crumbs, for instance, build up on the coils, the motor has to work harder and uses more electricity.While you’re at it, clean out the inside too. That expired bottle of ketchup and mystery jar of leftovers from Christmas might be blocking the airflow.
  • Check your sliding doors It’s an easy thing to overlook, but make sure to clean out the track of your sliding doors. If it’s dirty, it can ruin the door’s seal. Those gaps in the seal can let in hot air during the summer.
  • Hunt for spider webs — If you have spider webs in your basement or crawlspace, you probably have a draft nearby. If you find webs, hunt down the leak and seal them to help keep your home well insulated.
  • Dust your ceiling fans — While you’re up there, check to make sure your fan is set to go counterclockwise for the summer. In the winter, you want it to go clockwise to help push warm air down. In the summer, you need to change them back to have the opposite effect.

Good luck with the spring cleaning. I’m pretty sure I can get through this list without crying. Just don’t make me sort through June’s and Annie’s sock drawers. Tiny baby socks get me every time.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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