Autumn Energy Saving Tips
Autumn is here and that means cooling weather. But down south, that is not always the case. We know there will be days we actually use both our heater and air conditioner within 24 hrs. Maintaining a constant, comfortable temperature in your home during the next few months can become tricky. Those mild mornings are the perfect time to leave your windows open and let some air in. But like clockwork, the next moment the sky can open up and leave us drenched. Also, by noon the temperature could have risen another 10-15 degrees and now the AC is running. Here are some ways to meet mother nature in the middle during one of our favorite seasons.
See Also: From Leaving Your Windows Open to Turning on Your Furnace, Autumn is Just Around the Corner
Use Your Ceiling Fans Wisely
Fall is a great time to have ceiling fans in your home. Because ceiling fans can make a room feel up to eight degrees cooler, using your ceiling fans can help you delay turning on the air conditioner or heater. Before turning on your ceiling fans for the first time (or before switching their direction, if you’ve been using them during the summer), be sure to dust them. Otherwise you could end up with a mess. Once the fans are dusted, turn them on and check that they’re turning in the right direction. During the cooler days, fans should run clockwise. When you stand directly under the fan, you should not feel much of a breeze. By changing the blades’ direction the warmer air is circulated from the ceiling where heat resides.
Be Smart About Windows
On cooler autumn days, open up blinds and curtains to let the sunshine in and reduce the use of energy for heating. Alternatively, on warm autumn days, you can open the windows themselves to bring in fresh breezes into your home. This will be most effective if you can create a cross-breeze between windows on opposite sides of the house.
However, if you or your family members have pollen allergies, don’t open the windows for ventilation, especially during the morning hours when pollen counts are highest. Better to run the air conditioner or use a mechanical ventilation system than have to deal with allergy symptoms!
Warm autumn afternoons are a perfect time to fire up the grill. It’s much more comfortable to cook outside now than during the peak of summer (and mosquito season), and you’ll avoid using the stove or oven indoors, which can heat up your house. On those cooler days when Thanksgiving approaches, use your kitchen. The heat from your appliances will only help warm your home. This takes some of the work load from your HVAC unit. Just remember to keep your fans going to direct that heat around your home.
See Also: Keep Your Energy Bill Down in the Winter
Fall Cleaning for Energy Efficiency
When you’re doing your Fall cleaning, don’t forget to clean in ways that can improve your energy efficiency. In addition to dusting your fans, take the time to clean out behind your refrigerator.
Dust, dirt, and pet hair that accumulates behind your fridge can decrease airflow past the coils, forcing your refrigerator to work harder to keep your food and drinks cold. Since a refrigerator uses up to 10% of all the energy consumed by the average household, helping your fridge be more efficient can make a real impact on those monthly energy bills.
If you have sliding glass doors, clean out the tracks of those as well. Dirt and debris in the tracks can create spaces for air to leak through. And while you’re cleaning, you might want to consider caulking and weather-stripping around your doors and windows as well.
See Also: Taking Care of Your Home’s Crawl Space
Get Your HVAC Serviced
Don’t wait until the dead of winter to have your HVAC serviced. Instead, have it done in the fall so everything will be ready to go by the time winter’s chill arrives.
Regular maintenance including cleaning the coils and checking the refrigerant charge will help to ensure your HVAC runs as efficiently as possible. And it will help you avoid breakdowns during the cold days of winter, when going without heat isn’t just uncomfortable—it can be bad for your health.
Take Care of Your Ducts
Autumn’s mild temperatures also make it a great time to have your ducts cleaned and sealed. Clean ducts are more energy efficient because there isn’t dust and debris blocking airflow through them. And sealing ducts makes your whole system more efficient because conditioned air won’t be leaking into your attic or other unconditioned spaces. This will avoid wasting energy and keep your home’s pressure balanced, which will decrease the amount of hot, humid outside air being pulled in through every tiny opening.
Upgrade for Energy Efficiency
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a new HVAC system or other major appliances, Autumn can be a good time to do so. HVAC contractors aren’t generally as busy during the spring and fall as they are during the peak summer and winter months. Plus, your home will stay more comfortable while your system is being replaced. Whether you’re replacing your HVAC, refrigerator, water heater, or other appliance, look for products that are Energy Star certified to help maximize your energy savings. Making these upgrades now can help keep those energy bills under control all year long.