If your home is prepared for fall weather, then you’re well on your way to being prepped for winter’s falling temperatures. But there is always more you can do and there is plenty of time to continue evaluating your energy usage ahead of the coldest months of winter.
ASSESS YOUR HVAC
Regardless of the season, the largest energy expense for the average home in the U.S. is air conditioning, coming in at about 45 percent of the monthly utility bill. The milder temperatures of fall give us a brief break from extreme temperatures, which is an ideal time to double-check your system’s efficiency.
Start by replacing clogged air filters – your system put in plenty of hours during the summer, putting a strain on the filters. The dirtier the filter, the less efficient your system will be, as it works to move air through the home.
EXAMINE YOUR ENVELOPE
Whether it’s your cool air leaking out during the summer or the heat escaping your home in winter, a drafty house is a quick way to see spikes in your utility bills. With the mild weather of fall, spend some time checking your home’s exterior for cracks, bad seals, and leaks.
Caulk and weatherstripping are easy ways to trap your temperature-controlled air indoors, but there may be other routes where you’re losing temperature control. This fall, spend time evaluating the windows on your home. It’s not just for cracks but to determine whether upgrading or replacing them – now or come spring – may prove to be an investment that leads to cost savings over time.
While you’re evaluating the weaknesses in your home’s envelope, check everything from top to bottom. Examine whether your fireplace, ductwork, light fixtures, electrical outlets, plumbing, or other areas are causing conditioned air to escape.
REVISIT DAILY HABITS
When the weather gets cooler, are you taking advantage of the natural heat of the sun to spare your HVAC the extra workload? With winter just a couple of months away, consider which direction your windows are facing and make the most of it. As the temperatures drop, heat your home naturally by opening the curtains to let sunlight in through south-facing windows during the day. Close the same curtains at night to trap the heat with one more insulating layer.
While you’re evaluating your own energy-efficiency routines, think about how you’re using your thermostat. Are you just letting the system run when you and the family are away from home? Consider dialing back your comfortable temperature setting by 8 degrees to see measurable cost savings in your monthly utility bills. Your evaluation may even drive you to invest in a smart thermostat, an excellent way to program good habits and trim your energy costs.
Another good habit to start in fall: layer up. As the days get cooler and cooler, put on more clothes, and put more blankets in easy to reach places at the house. Turn your thermostat down a few degrees – then a few degrees more – and compensate in the cozy warmth of a comforter or cardigan.
MORE THINGS TO EVALUATE
Just a few months ago, Farmers EC reminded readers to set their fans to spin counterclockwise– now, the time has come to reverse them. When a ceiling fan spins clockwise, warm air that has risen toward the ceiling is pushed back down into the room. This also helps ensure the heated air coming out of your vents circulates through your living spaces.
Schedule an HVAC check-up. As technician will inspect HVAC system and make sure your heat and air is in good shape after the hard work from this summer.
An HVAC check-up will get your system back to peak efficiency before winter weather arrives.