Green Spring Cleaning Guide for Air Quality & Energy Savings
Have you started your spring cleaning yet? In order to keep your home happy and healthy, it’s important to conduct regular cleanings and maintenance tasks. A good way to make sure your home is clean from top to bottom is to schedule spring air conditioning maintenance from a qualified HVAC contractor around the time when you do your spring cleaning.
By cleaning your home and utility systems, such as the heating and cooling machinery, your home will be cleaner, more comfortable, and less prone to expensive repairs.
Unfortunately, many household cleaners do more harm than good. In order to clean your home effectively while also maintaining healthy indoor air quality levels and cutting your carbon footprint, here’s your green spring cleaning guide.
Green Spring Cleaning
1. Clear clutter and wipe down surfaces daily.
Ok, so you may not be able to clear clutter and wipe surfaces down every day, but it’s a good goal to have. If you’ve ever wondered how some people seem to always have clean kitchens and bathrooms, it’s because they clean it every day.
That doesn’t mean that they get the bucket of cleaning supplies out and wipe every surface, but they have developed the habit of taking a rag, paper towel, or even some toilet paper and wiping down wet surfaces, faucets, toilets, and other areas that get dirty daily.
If you don’t wipe down your bathrooms and kitchens daily, you’ll be faced with a huge mess in a very short time. Instill the habit of daily wipings and declutterings to your family and you’ll notice a much cleaner house, improved air quality, and less moisture problems.
It’s alright if you wait a day or or two, but wait a week, and you’ll probably feel overwhelmed. Clutter-free homes and improved indoor air quality not only makes us physically healthier, it also boosts our psychological states as well, decreasing stress levels while increasing productivity.
Be careful which cleaning products you use. Some can introduce harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air, which are bad for your health and the environment. Learn more about Green Cleaning Products.
2. Clean windows, screens, blinds, and windowsills monthly.
Dirty windows not only look nasty, they also dull the sunlight coming into the home. You can choose a green cleaner, such as Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning product line, or create your own cleaning solution of ¼ white vinegar with 2 cups of water.
Clean the inside and outside of your windows when they are cool to the touch. In addition to cleaning your windows, you can increase your home’s passive heating and cooling by remembering to close blinds and drapes when the sun is out and shade your windows and outdoor condenser unit. Click here for more energy-saving tips for your Phoenix area home.
3. Air out bedrooms and living rooms every few days
If your home was built in the past 15 years, it’s probably very airtight and energy efficient. Unfortunately, this can create indoor air quality problems and ventilation concerns. In order to refresh the air and get rid of that stuffy air that is zapping your energy and making it more difficult to breathe, open up a window or two. Air out your home every few days and you’ll have a fresher home and better air.
4. Vacuum with a HEPA vacuum
Dust and vacuum regularly to reduce the amount of dust bunnies, dust mites, and dirt in your home. Consider purchasing a HEPA filtration vacuum so to filter out even the smallest indoor contaminants.
5. Clear ways any grass clippings, dirt and debris from your outdoor condenser unit.
While your qualified HVAC technician will most certainly clean the indoor and outdoor units, you’ll need to clear away debris more frequently than that. If you haven’t scheduled spring air conditioning maintenance yet, wait until the technician comes and cleans the unit for you. If you have already scheduled HVAC maintenance or won’t again for a while, it’s important to make this maintenance task a part of your spring cleaning.
It’s perfectly safe to clean your outdoor condenser unit with a garden hose, but don’t risk bending the condenser fins by trying to clean them with any sharp object. If there are grass clippings, small sticks, or anything else stuck in the fins, either call your HVAC technician to conduct a thorough cleaning or use HVAC fin combs to remove the debris.
6. Clean HVAC vents and registers.
Not only is it a really good idea to clean your vents and registers, doing so will also alert you to any airflow problems and other issues that may exist. Go around your home and locate all of your vents a registers. If any are blocked by rugs, furniture, drapery, or anything else, remove the obstruction and make sure the vent is fully open.
Although there is normally a valve that “opens” or “closes” the vents, it’s never a good idea to close them unless you were specifically instructed to do so by an HVAC professional. If you close any vents or unintentionally obstruct them, airflow problems can create duct leaks, energy inefficiencies, and other HVAC problems. If your central HVAC system was properly designed in the first place, there would be no need to close any vents.
How to clean your heating and air conditioning vents:
- After locating and opening your vents and registers, turn the heating or cooling off.
- Next, remove the vent cover (usually with a screwdriver) and wash it with soapy water and a sponge.
- While they are drying, you can wipe around the vent opening with a large dust cloth.
- Once you’ve cleaned as far as you can reach, take your flash camera and take a look further down the ducts. If you see large dust bunnies and other debris, it’s time to have them professionally cleaned. Learn more about professional duct cleaning and sealing.
- Replace the vent covers when they are dry.
Unfortunately, no amount of cleaning will save you from indoor air quality risks. Indoor air cleaners and purifiers, such as UV Germicidal Lights, can help eliminate indoor air contaminants at the source. Whole-home purification systems that are built into the HVAC system are the best way to remove harmful toxins from the home and increase the lifespan of your HVAC unit.
Automate your HVAC tune-ups and cleanings by signing up for a professional home maintenance plan, such as our Penguin Protection Plan.
Happy Earth Day!
Learn more about Earth Day and how you can celebrate this April 22, 2017.
For more information on lowering your air conditioning costs:
- Home Cooling Cheat Sheet
- Check Your Air Quality: Don’t Have A Bad “Air” Day
- Basic Air Conditioning Unit Cleaning Tips
- How to Change An Air Conditioning Filter
- Penguin Air A/C Tune-Up Tips
At Penguin Air and Plumbing, we want to help make your Phoenix area home safe and efficient for years to come