6 DIY Ways to Save Energy This Fall

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 by Joy Padgett

Instead of me telling you how the company I work for can help you make your home more comfortable, how about if we change things up a little bit and I give you some things YOU can do to conserve energy this fall…..I mean, since fall is upon us I thought this would be fitting.

Not every customer we speak with is calling in because of home comfort issues. Many of them are calling in because of high utility bills. And while there are a multitude of things we can do to reduce household energy consumption, there are a few things that YOU can do too!

1. Conduct a basic HVAC inspection
When the time changes (twice a year for most people) this can serve as a reminder to conduct a basic HVAC inspection. You’re not a licensed HVAC technician, you say? That’s okay!

A basic inspection includes checking your filter, looking at your ductwork, and making sure the temperature inside your home matches the temperature on your thermostat. You should be checking your filter monthly and changing it as needed. The filter reduces the amount of dust and debris that is sucked into your furnace through the cold air return vent. Duct work can become loose, damaged or disconnected and should be checked and fixed as needed. Your thermostat should heat your home to your desired level. If you have your thermostat set to 72 degrees and yet your actual inside temperature is reading only 70 degrees (and your furnace has been running), your thermostat might need to be replaced.

Thermostats should be checked

While you can probably change the filter yourself, when it comes to most duct work issues and thermostat issues, you should call a professional for assistance.

 2.  Seal your attic door

Whether you have a simple attic hatch, or a pull-down stair unit, sealing the attic door can help reduce air flow between the attic space and your living space. What this means is this: the warm air from your living space won’t move upwards into the attic so easily which, in turn, helps to reduce the amount of time your furnace is running. This reduction in run-time helps to reduce your energy usage and extends the life of your furnace. PLUS, it greatly reduces the draft you feel when you walk underneath the hatch.

Now, I’m not talking about sealing it shut, silly. That wouldn’t make much sense.  I’m talking about caulking around the frame or trim and adding weather-stripping to help prevent air leakage.

{SIDEBAR: the company I work for has an amazing attic hatch cover that we can completely customize to fit whatever kind of attic hatch you have! It really is cool!}

3.  Clean your dryer vent

The time change is also a great reminder to check and clean your dryer vent. While you should clean the lint trap inside the dryer after each load, it is also important to actually check and clean the dryer vent that typically runs out the back of the dryer and then to the outside of your home. Some dryers are vented out through the ceiling and others through the wall or the floor, so you’ll have to figure out where yours is located.  BUT, moving on….the lint that is created by the dryer isn’t completely caught by the interior lint trap. Soooo….this lint travels down/through the dryer vent and then out of your house. However, because of the moisture associated with mechanized drying, some of the lint will stick to the inside of the dryer vent and, eventually, clog it up. Not only  can this prevent moisture from escaping properly and promote mold and mildew issues, it can easily become a fire hazard at this point.

Detaching the dryer vent on both ends and vacuuming it out thoroughly helps reduce the possibility of moisture issues and fire hazards. Once you have done that and re-connected the vent, go outside to the vent cover, and clean away any lint or debris attached to or surrounding the vent cover. (PS…in case you don’t know what it looks like, it’s the little thing with the flaps that open and close when air is pushed out through it.)

4. Open the blinds and curtains

During the fall, when temperatures begin to drop, you can use solar heat to help keep your house warm. I don’t mean the kind of solar heat where you have to have those big ugly panel up on your roof….I’m talking about the FREE kind! Since glass is easily warmed by the sun, opening your blinds and curtains allows the heat that is hitting the glass in your windows, to transfer into your home. This is what you want in cooler months. Open blinds and curtains in the morning/daytime to allow this “free heat” to come into your home and close them at night to help prevent the heat from escaping. You want to reverse this in the summer time!

5. Caulk around your windows

If you’ve noticed your curtains moving when your windows are closed, that is a sign that your windows need to be sealed. Since almost all windows allow air to come in around them, it is important to check them periodically and fix any gaps or cracks around them so outside air doesn’t come in through those gaps and inside air doesn’t escape from them. A word of caution: be sure you’re not sealing your windows closed! Only caulk the trim around the window. Caulking your windows shut is dangerous!

Caulk around windows

I know, I know, I know! The word caulk has you a little on edge because you’re not sure you can make it look good without getting it all over yourself….and everything else.  So, here’s what you do, before you tackle caulking the trim around your windows, go into your closet or some other obscure area in your home and practice on the trim in that area….where nobody will see it….just in case you make a mess. Once you get the hang of it, you can caulk the trim around your windows like a pro!

6.   Clean your refrigerator

Now, if you’re like me, cleaning the refrigerator is your absolute favorite thing to do....said no one ever. But, I’m not talking about cleaning it out…unless your refrigerator looks like you’re trying to manufacture your own penicillin! What I’m talking about is cleaning the coils on the back, or bottom of your fridge. Since your refrigerator uses more energy than your other kitchen appliances, it’s important to do what you can to reduce its usage. This means cleaning the coils on a regular basis (once again, the time change is a good time to do this). You should also check the temperature inside your refrigerator using a standard food thermometer.  Simply place it in a small glass of water and set it on the middle shelf. It should read 41 degrees which is the prime temperature for food safety, but not so cold that you’re really wasting electricity.

Well….that about covers it! I hope you found these suggestions helpful!

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