For many people, fall means cooler weather, the start of school, and the excitement of the approaching holiday season. But fall is also a time to prepare your home for winter and make sure you don’t end up overspending on your monthly utility bills.
By making adjustments—both minor and major—to your home, you could reduce your energy consumption and remain comfortable as cooler weather sets in. With a more efficient home, you could also enjoy electricity bill savings.
Explore Gexa’s top fall energy-saving tips and start making your to-do list for preparing your home for colder weather.
Look for Drafts & Seal Them
Jump on fall energy savings before it starts to get cold. Walk around your home and look for spots where you can feel a cold draft. Check windows and doors for any gaps that could let heat out or cold air in and use weatherstripping to seal these areas. You can also caulk any cracks around cuts in the walls made for pipes or in unfinished spaces like basements and attics.
Take Advantage of Sunlight
Window coverings can easily help you control the temperature in your home with minimal effort. Open your blinds and curtains during the day to let sunlight in, especially through south-facing windows. Natural light can keep your home cozy and warm without the need for a heating system. Later in the day, when the sun starts to go down, close the curtains to hold in the heat and keep colder air out for peak heating energy efficiency.
Schedule a Furnace Inspection
Early fall is the ideal time to schedule a professional inspection of your heating system. Doing so gives you the opportunity to ensure your furnace is working properly before you really need to use it. It can also help you avoid emergency repairs in the future. If you have plans for a larger home retrofitting, upgrade to an ENERGY STAR® furnace.
Adjust the Thermostat
Keeping your home warm and comfortable in the cooler months starts with the heater, but there should be more to your heating strategy. How you use your thermostat can also help you save energy. Keep your thermostat around 70 degrees for a comfortable temperature during the day and lower the thermostat at night and when you leave the house. Or, even better, install a smart thermostat that you can set to adjust automatically throughout the day.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can keep a room cool in the summer, but did you know they can keep rooms warm during cooler fall temperatures? Set your ceiling fans to turn clockwise. This pushes down warm air that has risen upward, adding heat to the room without raising the thermostat. If your home doesn’t have ceiling fans, install them in high-use rooms, like the living room or bedrooms.
Inspect Your Fireplace
Warm air can easily escape your home through your fireplace flue, so assess the area for any potential air leaks and improve your fireplace insulation. Keep the damper closed unless you have a fire burning and check to ensure that the damper fits tightly. If you don’t use your fireplace, consider having it sealed to prevent heat loss.
Change Water Heater Settings
A significant part of your monthly utility bills goes to heating water for showering, washing clothes and dishes, and other daily chores. Simply changing the temperature setting on your water heater could reduce your energy consumption, save you money, and create a more energy-efficient home. Set your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees Fahrenheit) to simultaneously conserve energy and avoid the potential for scalding. If your water heater is an older model, it may be time to invest in a new one. Learn all about energy-efficient water heaters and how to find the right one for your home.
Avoid Blocking Vents
Inspect your house to make sure no furniture or curtains are obstructing the air vents. Blocked vents waste energy and prevent heat from circulating throughout the room. Avoid blocking vents by rearranging furniture or by buying vent extenders to help air flow more easily into the room.
Rethink Your Heating Strategy
If your heater is more than 10 years old, it’s likely not operating at top efficiency. Replacing your current furnace with an ENERGY STAR® qualified heater can make your home as much as 20% more efficient. ENERGY STAR® products are certified to be more energy-efficient, reducing your energy usage and helping you save money on your monthly utility bills.
Other Greens Tips for Fall
There are other small things you can do to conserve energy in your home. Here are a few more fall energy tips to add to your checklist and make sure your home is eco-friendly during the season and beyond:
- Clean or replace air filters regularly.
- Use window coverings like curtains, drapes, and blinds.
- Inspect and clean your furnace, in addition to regularly scheduled maintenance.
- Switch out traditional incandescent light bulbs for LED bulbs.
- Keep the oven door closed when you’re cooking.
- Turn off small kitchen appliances when not in use.