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Springtime Tasks for Safety and Efficiency

  • Posted: 03.22.2019
Image of GFCI outlet plug installed on a wall
Image: Safe Electricity

Spring is officially here, bringing along a few tasks and chores that seem to mark the rite of passage to this season. We often relate "spring cleaning" or freshening our home with this season; and there are many outdoor gardening and lawn chores to take care of, too.

In addition, there are a few items that may not have made it onto your list of tasks. This Old House magazine provides a monthly to-do list. A few of their seasonal suggestions for energy efficiency and safety include:

Test GFCIs
Spring electrical storms can knock ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) out of whack. To prevent shocks, check yours now. To do so, plug in a powered-on lamp, then hit the TEST button. The light should go off. When you hit RESET, the lamp should come on again. If yours are not working correctly, call an electrician. To read more about GFCI safety, check out critical details about lightning and GFCIs in our article about checking GFCIs in your home.

Trim Around Your AC Unit
Trees and shrubs near your home can help reduce your heating and cooling costs, but leaves can clog the coils and reduce efficiency. In addition, brush too close to the unit can reduce air circulation to the unit. The beginning of spring—before you turn on your AC unit—is a good time to clear out leaves and cut back branches. Cut branches to allow at least 2 feet around the unit. That also provides sufficient space for your service provider to access the unit. Note: If you are using an electric trimmer, this photo shows what not to do. Be sure to stay away from water when using electric appliances, indoors and out.

Tune Up Your Refrigerator
Using a fridge thermometer can ensure that your refrigerator is operating at a cold enough temperature to keep your food safe. This Old House says it should be between 35 and 38 degrees F. At the same time, clean the drain pan to prevent mildew growth. Scrubbing down the inside of the refrigerator to eliminate germs and gunk is also a good spring cleaning move. Read our previous article about cleaning out the refrigerator.

Dust Lightbulbs
Increase brightness up to 20 percent by wiping bulbs with a microfiber cloth.

Source: This Old House