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LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogSpring brings sunshine and warmer weather, and this means it is a good time to evaluate your home for energy efficiency. Drafts and other issues can mean higher electric and gas bills all year long, but there are steps you can take to ensure your comfort and savings. Here are things to do right away. Check your Water Heater Turning the temperature down just a few degrees can save you money. In addition, if you haven’t had the tank flushed in a while, now is a good time to do it. Sediment in the bottom of the tank reduces efficiency because it can block the heating element, in addition to other problems the sediment can cause. Schedule Air Conditioning Maintenance Schedule a seasonal preventive maintenance visit with a local HVAC company such as Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. A technician will inspect your AC to make sure components are clean, and in good repair, which is necessary for the most energy efficiency once the cooling season is in full swing. Dirty or poorly maintained systems use extra energy to keep your home cool. Check Your Windows Wet your hand and move it slowly around the window frame to check for drafts. Sometimes winter weather causes things to shift, including weatherproofing, and you might need to re-caulk or add weather-stripping. For even more energy efficiency, purchase solar curtains if you don’t already have them up. They help block any residual drafts and they keep the hot afternoon sun from raising indoor temperatures too much. The cooler you can keep your house through methods like this, the less electricity your air conditioner will use. Check the Attic A hot attic leads to a hot house if you don’t have the right amount of insulation or the insulation has been damaged through pest activity or moisture. Even if you had it checked before winter, it is a good idea to recheck it in case the roof leaked or other problems occurred. Invest in Fans Fans make the air feel cooler because they help move heat away from the surface of the skin. This allows you to put off using your air conditioner for longer or keep your thermostat set higher to reduce energy usage. Ceiling fans are best, but any fan will help. When you do all you can in spring to make your home more efficient, you will have less to do in the heat of summer. In addition, you should see energy savings quickly. It is easy to imagine all the other things that saved money can be used for this season.