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Nine energy savers to get your home in the swing of spring

Evidence of spring, in all its glory, is in every surrounding. Alabama roadways are suddenly ablaze with the purple blooms of native redbud trees, proof of the warming trend.

With the weather neither too hot nor cold, you may want to help shield your home from the hot days to come. As income-tax refunds come in, some people have a little windfall to invest in their home.

Here are some ways to make your home more energy-efficient and put savings in your pocket.

1.  Seal the deal with energy-efficient windows.

Don’t know where to start? Many home improvement stores sell energy-efficient windows and installation services. Look for Energy Star certified windows, which lower household energy bills by an average of 12% nationwide. Some stores have an on-site design consultant who creates a plan to improve energy efficiency and enhance your home’s beauty. Most stores offer the names of companies and reputable contractors to help with installation. New windows also provide instant gratification with your home’s improved curb appeal, while increasing your property value.

2.  Install sun-blocking window treatments.

If the timing’s not right for updating your windows, you may want to buy insulated curtains and shades.

Indeed, window treatments are more than stylish: They’re your home’s secret weapon for staying cool. While curtains and blinds are much less expensive than new windows, they also prevent heat from entering your house and provide energy savings. Select light-colored blinds, shades and drapes for the sunny side of your home: They will reflect light and help “seal out” the heat.

Choose shades or blinds that fully cover the window. By using “blackout” curtains – insulated or lined drapes – you can reduce energy lost through windows by up to 25%.

Take these steps and you’ll be “cool as a cucumber” at home, despite warm weather:

3.  Service your air conditioning (AC) system or heat pump. Get the jump on good ol’ summertime by having an HVAC professional check your system. If the system is low on refrigerant, it won’t work as well and will stay on longer, using more energy. Replace or clean the air filters. Regular maintenance can help keep the system running for years to come.

4.  Turn off lights. Use natural lighting early in the day and late in the afternoon to reduce your energy use.

5.  Refresh by opening windows. Let the fresh air in and open the windows to create a cross breeze, allowing the house to cool without the AC.

6.  Use ceiling fans. Run ceiling fans in the down direction to keep air circulating. Turn off fans when rooms aren’t in use.

7.  Set the thermostat at 78. On warm days, set the programmable thermostat higher when you’ll be away. When you’re at home, set the temperature to a comfortable 78 degrees.

8.  Use less energy drying clothes. Hang laundry outside to dry during the warm weather – you’ll love the fresh, clean smell and will avoid using energy. When using the clothes dryer, clean the lint filter after each use to maximize airflow and efficiency.

9.  Enjoy outdoor cooking. Get in the swing of spring by cooking on an outdoor grill instead of using the oven. You’ll save energy on your appliances, and your AC won’t have to work as hard on warm spring days.

Explore more smart savings and home energy solutions here.