Spring is the time when people are motivated to get their house in order. Closets are cleared, couches are vacuumed under and everything is given a good scrub down. It takes a lot of manpower, but your spring cleaning session could also require a lot of energy.
Before you decide to just live with the clutter in an effort to conserve energy, consider making a few adjustments while you clean to reduce consumption. Here’s how!
Make Your Own Healthy Surface Cleaner
Have you ever thought about how much energy goes into each item we buy? The product itself has to be made along with the packaging then it’s shipped to a store or your door. Once you’ve used the product the container is thrown out and the process starts again.
There’s a lot of waste involved and tons of energy that we consume indirectly. And when you’re shopping for cleaners there’s also the concern of how many toxins are used that can pollute the environment and become a potential hazard for people.
Luckily, Mother Nature produces some pretty good natural cleaners that aren’t harsh and can be bought in bulk. Some natural items you can use during a spring cleaning session include:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
There’s a good chance that if you check around the kitchen you’ll find that you already have a few of the items handy and don’t need to buy additional cleaners. Every product you don’t purchase is the energy saved!
Open the Windows While You Clean
In the spring there’s this brief period when you can turn the HVAC system off and open the windows. Not only does it save a ton of energy, it can improve air quality.
Many people are surprised to find the air in their home isn’t as healthy as they thought. When homes are shut up for months with heaters running the air inside can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoors. Opening the windows is like airing out the house. In the dead of summer when the air conditioner is whirring away you’ll be glad you did.
Clean Out Your Air Filters
When the air conditioner does finally kick on, a clean air filter can maximize energy efficiency. Cleanable air filters are more economical and it reduces waste as well as consumption.
The one downside is reusable air filters can remove allergens, dust, and pollen from the air, but they don’t improve the air quality as well as standard disposable filters. If air quality is more important than using the greenest option you may need to stick to regular air filters and change them every two months.
Clean the Blades and Change the Ceiling Fan Direction
It’s hard to purify the air in your home if there’s dust-caked all over the fan blades. Cleaning the fan is a task that usually only takes place during spring cleaning so make it really count.
While you are giving the ceiling fans some attention, make sure the blades are spinning in the right direction. During the spring and summer, the blades should turn counter-clockwise to pull air up so that it circulates and creates a chill effect. Using fans around the house can lower your energy bill by as much as 10%.
TIP: Always clean the blades before changing the direction. That way dust won’t dislodge and float around once the fan is turned on.
Dust Your Electronics
How many electronic devices are in your home? Most families have a dozen or more around the house. Altogether, electronics account for 4% of your energy bill.
Make sure electronics run as efficiently as possible by dusting them regularly. Dust buildup can actually cause poor connections, which affects how well electronics operate. It can also cause electronics to overheat. Overheating can reduce the lifespan of your electronics and make them work harder when they’re being used.
Clean Around the Fridge
A clean refrigerator is an efficient refrigerator. By some estimates, the refrigerator is the second biggest energy drain in a house after the HVAC system. New standards have resulted in ENERGY STAR refrigerator models that use up to 40% less energy than fridges from 2001, but that’s when they are new.
But to realize those energy savings you have to maintain the refrigerator. At least a few times a year you’ll want to clean around the condenser coils and the vents so air circulates freely. The seals around the door can also be cleaned to ensure the fridge closes air-tight.
Now it’s time to clean up with an energy plan from Provider Power. Residents in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts can count on us for reliable energy during the most intense spring cleaning sessions. Use your zip code to find available energy plans!
Social Distancing Tips From Provider Power
Up until a few weeks ago, the term social distancing wasn’t a part of everyday conversation. It was a concept that few people had the first-hand experience with, but now it’s a reality for millions in the USA and around the world. In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, people are following a stay at home mandates and self-quarantine initiatives in an effort to stop the spread.
The tips below can help you take social distancing measures without feeling the effects of isolation.
Replace Social Visits With Video Chatting
If you’re one of the thousands of people who got an Echo for the holidays you may want to send the gift-giver a thank you card. When people were told to stay at home for over two weeks, platforms like Facetime and Echo became a social lifeline that provides face-to-face discussions that are one step away from in-person interactions.
And people aren’t just video chatting one-on-one. Some people are arranging video chat happy hours and dinners with a group of family and friends. You have to make dinner and drinks yourself, but it’s better than feeling like a social outcast.
Want to organize a virtual movie night? Then check out the Netflix Party Chrome extension. Discord is another option that can allow a group of users to share the screen of one person who’s streaming a movie.
Zoom use has skyrocketed in recent weeks primarily among professionals and students. The app is designed for work functions and has had high-profile plugs from entertainers like Howard Stern that are producing shows remotely. The video conferencing platform also has special features like filters and backgrounds that take video chatting up a level.
Take a Walk, But Keep Your Distance
It’s kind of amazing how little Americans walk these days. A few years ago researchers like Tom Vanderbilt pointed out that Americans walk less than any other industrialized nation. Part of the reason we stopped walking is the technology that limits the need to travel on foot. Health experts are concerned that quarantining at home isn’t going to help the problem.
If you aren’t at high risk for severe COVID19 illness and keep a safe distance from others (6+ feet), taking a walk won’t break the social distancing rules. Most state parks and trails are closed, but even a quick walk around your neighborhood can be beneficial. The fresh air is good for your pulmonary health and mental state. And walking is actually a great form of exercise that just about anyone can do for free.
Take a Virtual Class
Catching up on the streaming shows you’ve fallen behind on isn’t the only way to be productive during the self-quarantine period. As many school children can tell you, remote learning is the new norm.
There are virtual classes for virtually every interest, hobby, and profession. You can take an online driver’s education, join a yoga group or learn how to cook a new dish. At the end of the quarantine, you can at least say you learned something new.
A few more of our top social distancing tips include:
Provider Power is dedicated to serving our customers during the COVID19 outbreak. We have taken measures to enable our customer service agents to work remotely so that they can stay safe while providing the exemplary assistance you’ve come to expect.
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