With cozy sweaters, pumpkin carving, and crisp breezes, it’s no surprise that many Americans proclaim fall as their favorite time of the year. Autumn brings people close together to celebrate family, holidays, and yummy food – including everything pumpkin!
But while you enjoy cooler weather and a break from the summer humidity, remember that you might need to make some changes to your energy-saving habits.
Follow the tips below to stay warm and save energy this fall:
- Keep your thermostat at or below 68 degrees. Regulating the temperature in your home is important and can save you money. The Department of Energy suggests turning back your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours a day to save up to 10% on heating costs. If you set your temperature to 68 degrees while at home and lower the temperature before going to bed, your HVAC system will have less work to do, resulting in lower energy consumption. Managing the temperature of your home is even easier with a programmable thermostat or a thermostat that you can control from your phone.
- Check for cracks, leaks, and drafts. Air leakage occurs because of cracks or gaps in in windows, doors and walls and can lead to higher monthly energy rates because it lets heat escape and cold air enter. Before it gets too cold, it’s important to check all your doors and windows for air leakage that could keep your heater running overtime. If your front or back door has space between it and the floor, add weather stripping to the bottom or use caulk to seal the gap. This will prevent excess heat from escaping and could keep your heater from running up your energy bill. Also, be sure to check out the exterior or your home – it’s common to find gaps or cracks around windows and doors or where different building materials meet.
- Take note of your fireplace. Speaking of air leakage, your fireplace may also need a little extra attention. If you aren’t cozied up by the fire, keep the fireplace damper closed. When the damper is open and there isn’t a fire burning, warm air can escape through the chimney. You should also consider purchasing energy efficient fireplace grates – these grates will draw cool air into the fireplace while pushing warm air back into your room.
- Let light and heat from windows inside.Let the sun do some of the heating for your home! Before you go to work, open the blinds or curtains of south-facing windows, allowing the sun to warm the room while you’re gone. When you get home, don’t forget to close them to lock in that free heat. In areas where your home doesn’t get much sun, keep your curtains and blinds closed to trap in the heat. You can also strategically plant trees in your yard to help with energy costs! Deciduous trees can provide shade during the summer, but lose their leaves in the winter, allowing for more sunlight to warm your home.
- Reverse the spin of ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can easily keep you cool, but they can also help keep you warm. If you reverse the direction to clockwise, your ceiling fans will push warm air back down (remember, warm air rises). It will also redistribute the warm air from your heating system, making sure pockets of cold air don’t settle in the corners of each room. In the summer, don’t forget to adjust the fans back to counter-clockwise. This will pull hot air up to the ceiling and help with cooling costs, too. Don’t have any fans? Check your nearest home improvement store for deals and install ceiling fans in the rooms you use most. Some improvement stores will even install ceiling fans for you!
- Replace your HVAC filter. This tip is easy to forget, but could save your home from using unnecessary energy. Your air filter is the access point for your HVAC system’s air flow, and the place that filters your home from allergens and dirt particles. If you don’t replace your air filter, it clogs up from excess dust. This reduces airflow, or increases resistance, which puts strain on your heating and cooling system. Check your filter once a month to make sure it’s not too dirty, or subscribe to a filter delivery service for a monthly reminder.
- Conserve heat with tin foil. Yes, you read that correctly – placing a piece of tin foil behind your radiator will help reflect heat back into your home. Don’t let that precious heat go out the window; this cheap and simple hack could also help you save on winter heating bills. Just make sure the shiny side is facing the radiator!