With fall finally here, many homeowners are now thinking ahead to the cooler months of November, December, and beyond. Preparing your home for the fall and winter months is a great way to not only reduce maintenance and repair costs long-term, but to potentially boost your energy savings as well. By following just a few simple yet practical home maintenance tips as you prepare for fall and winter, you’ll be ready for even the most frigid of winter nights.
1. Schedule That Furnace Tune-Up
You rely heavily on your home’s heating system during the coldest months of the year to keep your home comfortable, so why not go ahead and schedule your annual furnace tune-up? Any reputable local HVAC company will offer tune-ups, and many will even offer them as part of larger service packages that may also include an annual A/C inspection and/or plumbing system inspection for a reasonable price.
Having your furnace tuned up before cold weather hits will help you avoid surprise repairs and other issues while also giving you the peace of mind in knowing your furnace is prepared. You’ll also boost efficiency with a furnace tune-up, which could save you money in heating costs this fall and winter.
2. Check for Drafty Windows and Doors
Now is also a good time to check around your home for signs of drafty windows and doors. On a cool night, you should be able to feel any drafts coming in through your closed windows and doors. In some cases, you may even be able to see areas around your doors and windows where there are gaps. Fortunately, these can be easily filled in with weather-sealing caulk for added insulation qualities. You can also purchase weather-stripping to install easily along the bottoms of exterior doors for added draft protection and thus energy savings.
3. Upgrade Your Home’s Insulation
How is your home’s insulation holding up? If it’s on the older side, you may want to consider having it replaced this fall with something more energy efficient. Doing so can save you money on your energy bills not just during the fall and winter months, but year-round. Now is also a good time to add insulation to areas of your home that may need it, such as your attic door, around ventilation/ducts, and possibly even your garage.
4. Schedule Dryer Vent Cleaning
When was the last time you had your dryer vent cleaned? If it’s been more than a year, you’ll definitely want to do this during the fall months and make it a habit to do at least once a year. Not only can a clogged dryer vent pose a fire hazard to your home, but clogged vents can also reduce the heating efficiency of your dryer itself. This means you may have to run your dryer for a longer cycle in order to dry your clothes, which will result in higher energy bills.
5. Invest in Black-Out Curtains
Take advantage of the sun’s warmth during the summer months by keeping your drapes and curtains open during the day when the sun is streaming into your home. This is a great way to warm spaces within your home without needing to crank up the furnace. As the sun begins to set, close your drapes/curtains to essentially “trap” the heat in your home. You might even want to consider installing “black-out” curtains and shades, which are designed to have added insulation qualities that will keep your space warmer for even longer. These can also come in handy to block out warmth from the sun during the summer, which can save you on your cooling costs as well!
6. Adjust Your Thermostat Settings
Many people have their thermostats set a lot warmer than they really need to during the fall and winter months. Even turning down the thermostat by a few degrees can result in significant savings on your heating costs, and you likely won’t notice the difference much. This is especially true if you turn the thermostat down a few degrees when you go to bed, since you’ll be under the covers anyway!
7. Have Your Fireplace Serviced
If your home has a fireplace, using it to heat your space can be very efficient. This is especially true of homes with wood-burning fireplaces. Just make sure to have your fireplace serviced regularly to ensure maximum efficiency and safety.
8. Consider Installing New Windows
Finally, depending on how old your home’s windows are, you might consider installing new windows this fall to boost energy efficiency throughout your home. While new windows obviously require an up-front investment, they can easily pay off over the course of several years. The right windows can save you not just on your energy costs, but can cut down on noise in your home as well.
These are just a few practical tips for saving energy around your home as temperatures begin to drop this fall. Be sure to give some or all of these a try to see what works best for you and your unique household!