Ten Ways To Prepare Your Home For Spring And Save Money

Mar 29, 2019, 5:40 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

Although it may not feel like it today with a little resurgence of winter weather, spring is here. And, now is the time to do a little maintenance that will boost your home’s efficiency as temperatures rise and to help you avoid repair bills.

Decades of home ownership have taught Steve and Marilyn Albertson a thing or two about getting a house ready for spring. It’s an expertise Albertson teaches at the Utah State University Extension office as an associate professor.


Her first tip is change your HVAC system’s air filter. It adds comfort and cuts energy uses by as much as 15%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“When you have soil in the air filters, then it makes your furnace work much harder to push the air through,” Albertson explained.

“What I’m looking for when I look at the filter,” said Steve Albertson, “is if it’s covered in dirt. Sometimes I I’ll see white specs, some dust specs, stuff like that.”

Best practice is to change or clean the filter every season, said Marilyn Albertson. But construction tosses up lots of dust and dirt into the air. So, if there is a construction project in your neighborhood, she advises changing the filter more often.


“When you first get your water heater, you need to drain it about a quarter-tank every year,” she explained. This will drain out sediment and mineral build-up that chews up efficiency as your heater’s life.

Lowering the temperature on your water heater saves money and energy.

“If the water is coming out clear, you’re pretty well set,” elaborated Steve Albertson. “It’ll come out milky with the sediments in there.”

But, do not drain an older water heater at all, if you have never drained it before.

“That sediment gets pretty hard, just like concrete in the bottom of your water heater,” he added.

If a chunk of that build-up breaks off, it will cause problems.

“It can actually cause the valve to stay open or a clog,” said Marilyn Albertson. “You have to replace the water heater.


But, do turn the heater’s thermostat down to 120 degrees. It will save you on energy costs: 3% to 5% for every drop of ten degrees Fahrenheit according to The Simple Dollar. Plus, you might not want to keep the water so hot in warmer months anyhow.

If you are not sure what temperature your water heater is set at, the Albertsons have a simple hack. Simply run the hot water on you sink for a minute or two to get the hottest water, fill a bowl and drop in a cooking thermometer.


Roll out your fridge and clean its dusty coils. A collection of dust forces the coils to work harder.

“I had a friend who just recently was having trouble with the refrigerator,” related Marilyn Albertson. “She thought she was going to have to replace it. But, she pulled the refrigerator out, cleaned the coils really well. Cleaned out underneath. And, the refrigerator worked. She didn’t have to replace it.”

“Just vacuum,” was Steve Albertson’s advice about cleaning the coils. “You don’t want to put any moisture on or anything else like that.”

A soft dry, thistle brush also does the trick.

Marilyn also suggests keeping the fridge about two-thirds full makes better use of the energy.

“You’re cooling nothing (when it is empty),” said Marilyn. “It’s much more efficient when it has things in there to cool.”


Marilyn says the expansion and contraction a Utah home goes through during winter can open up all sorts of cracks

which can let cool air escape your home in warmer weather.

Marilyn Albertson explains how expansion and contraction during winter opens up cracks.

“That is when,” Marilyn Albertson explained, “oftentimes, when the caulk begins to break down.” By sealing up openings with caulk or weather stripping, you can cut 10% to 20% off your energy costs according to the U.S. Department of Energy.


Cleaning out the gutters will not save you much on energy costs, but it can save you in repair costs.

“The water can back up in those gutters and it can get backed up underneath the roof,” explained Marilyn. “And, then you can start having leakage into your house. It can actually leak down the walls and could do major damage.”



Damaging leaks is also why homeowners should have their roofs checked out for any damage sustained during the winter. A missing or curled up shingle will let water seep into their homes.

Down on the ground, check out the garden hose bibs to make sure they are not dripping.


Power washing the siding is a great idea, said Marilyn Albertson, if you do it right.

“Be really cautious because oftentimes you tend to shoot (the water) up because you’re down on the ground,” she warned. “So, it gets moisture up underneath the siding and past its ledge (lip.)”

To avoid that damage, she recommended spraying from top down.


Also, check your home’s soffit and eaves. They may need a little caulk or some paint.

“You need to make sure that the soffit and eaves are painted, if they are paintable,” Albertson said. “That is something that will allow moisture to get in if it’s not painted and in good condition. And, that can affect your insurance.”

Most homeowners policies will not cover what the industry refers to as seepage, typically defined as water damage caused by lack of maintenance.


Also, check the A/C condenser unit in your yard. Any leaves or trash blown into, or up against the coils needs to be cleared.

Steve Albertson explains how clearing the A/C of debris saves wear and tear.

“If they are obstructed, you’re making your air conditioning work a lot harder than it needs to be,” exclaimed Steve Albertson.

Spray water into the coils at low pressure to wash away loose dirt. For good airflow, trim foliage back at least a couple feet. The less your A/C has to work, the more money you save.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE: The Utah State Legislature...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV, & Aimee Cobabe, KSLNewsradio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

A bill on transgender healthcare - banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for minors passed in the Utah House Thursday after last-minute changes.
12 hours ago
A photo of the U.S. Magnesium refinery in Tooele County on Jan. 27, 2017. The plumes from the plant...
Carter Williams, KSL.com and Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio

What’s behind northern Utah’s ‘brown clouds’? New study pinpoints a major source

A magnesium plant located near the Great Salt Lake is a major producer of chemical elements behind the "dense winter brown clouds" that sometimes hang over Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah's northern half in the winter, a new federal study determines.
12 hours ago
(Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)...
Tamara Vaifanua

Tips to start building an emergency fund

Could you cover the cost of an unexpected emergency today? If not -- you're not alone. More than half of Americans say they'd have to go into debt to pay for an unplanned bill of $1,000 or more.
12 hours ago
(Stuart Johnson/KSL TV)...
Josh Ellis

Two injured after explosion in Lehi house

Firefighters are investigating after an explosion at a home in Lehi left two people with minor injuries.
12 hours ago
Americans are using their credit cards more often as the economy opens....
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: The key to saving money on your credit card bills

More Utahns are carrying debt, but the thing is – many of those folks have no idea how much interest they are paying on their debt.
2 days ago
Matt Rascon

Man chases teens after shots fired at Taylorsville High

As parents and neighbors reacted to gunshots heard from the Taylorsville High parking lot, one man ran towards the school.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Ten Ways To Prepare Your Home For Spring And Save Money