Grab your sweater and a cup of pumpkin-spiced something, because Fall is officially here and many of us in the northern hemisphere can turn off the air conditioning and enjoy the milder days and cooler nights.
Autumn is also the perfect time to get your home ready for saving energy during the colder months ahead. A typical household spends approximately $2,000 per year on energy bills. Some of the tips below can be utilized on a daily basis to increase your savings, while others are inexpensive, simple actions you can take to ensure energy savings throughout the entire season.
10 simple ways to save energy and money this fall:
- Seal and Insulate: Cover drafty windows with a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet or film and use weather stripping around windows/doors during the cold winter months. Sealing air leaks found around outer walls, windows, doors, and adding insulation can save you up to 10% on your heating bills.
- Get Smart About Your Thermostat: When home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable, such as 68°F or below. When asleep or out of the house, dial your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours to save up to 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A smart or programmable thermostat makes it easy to preset your temperature throughout the day and night.
- Running Hot & Cold: Improve your home’s heating & cooling systems by cleaning or replacing furnace filters every three months and scheduling routine system maintenance to help air flow through the system more efficiently. Sealing and insulating air ducts, especially those in your attic or crawlspace, helps keep the heat where you want it and can improve your HVAC system’s efficiency by as much as 10%.
- Come clean: If you wash clothes on hot, you’re dumping water and money down the drain. Wash clothes in cold water and only wash full loads. Also, run your dishwasher at full capacity and air-dry dishes instead of using the heated drying cycle.
- Lower your water heating costs: Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) and install water-efficient showerheads.
- Have a light bulb moment: Replace old incandescent lights with LED bulbs, which use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer. And use LED light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays.
- Chill out: Set your refrigerator temperature between 37° and 40° F and your freezer at 0° F. Unplug old refrigerators in basements and garages that might be used as storage, but are inefficient and underutilized.
- Embrace your dark side: Flip ‘em all off — lights and mobile devices not in use, that is! And while you’re at it, unplug appliances and devices when not in use as they drain electricity, even when they’re turned off or in sleep mode.
- Don’t let your fireplace put a damper on your wallet: Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. An open or unsealed fireplace damper in a well-insulated house can raise overall energy consumption by up to 30%, or nearly $200 annually.
- It’s curtains for you! Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.