With crisp breezes and colorful leaves, it's no surprise that fall is many Americans' favorite season of the year. From Halloween to Thanksgiving, fall brings people close together to celebrate family, holidays and yummy food (and brings them closer to stay a little warmer). While you are enjoying cooler weather and a break from the summer heat, remember that your home will require a slight change in 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 10 to 15 degrees when you're not at home, and to set it as low as comfortable when you are home, to save 10 percent on heating costs. If you set your temperature to 68 degrees while at home, your HVAC system will have less work to do, resulting in lower energy consumption.
- Check for cracks, leaks and drafts. If your air conditioning was running non-stop all summer, then you might have unnoticed leaks in your home. Before it gets too cold, check all your doors and windows for drafty chills that could keep your heater running non-stop too. If your front or back door has space between it and the floor, add weather stripping to the bottom. This will prevent excess heat from escaping and could keep your heater from running up your energy bill.
- Let light and heat from windows inside. Making sure heat doesn't escape from your windows is important, but that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the sun heating up your home. Before you go to work, open your blinds or curtains in your home where the sun shines most. When you get home, don't forget to close them to lock in your free heat. In areas where your home doesn't get much sun, especially in areas shaded from trees, keep your curtains and blinds closed.
- Reverse the spin of ceiling fans. Your 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. Don't have any fans? Check your nearest home improvement store for deals and install ceiling fans in the rooms you use the most.
- 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.
- Upgrade to LED. Thanks to the Earth's tilt, when fall or winter rolls around, days get colder and darker. This means that you might have your home's lights on more than you would during the summer. If you have incandescent light bulbs in your light fixtures, consider swapping them out for LEDs. An LED bulb can last significantly longer than a traditional incandescent light bulb, and uses even less energy (up to 75 percent less!).