Labor Day is in the rearview and autumn is almost upon us. You know what that means: Halloween decorations, pumpkin spice everything, and some blessedly cooler weather. As much as you might love the lower temperatures and turning leaves, if you aren’t careful, the season can do a number on your energy bills. Buttoning up your home for the cold months will mean a lot of energy saving opportunities, and more ways to cut back on wasted energy that won’t cost you anything in the process. Here are some simple things you can do to cut back on your energy use and save some money for the upcoming holidays:
The sun is your best friend this time of year. Open your blinds and curtains on your south and west-facing windows during the day to let in as much light as possible. The sunlight will help warm your house during the day. Then once you hit sundown, close them back up. This does more than enhance privacy. It also reduces the amount of warm air that escapes through your windows. If you have windows that are especially drafty, you can insulate them by covering them up with heavy, clear plastic. Heavier curtain fabrics may also reduce drafts.
When you aren’t home, there isn’t much need for the heat to be running. Whatever temperature you normally prefer at home in the evening, set it 10 to 15 degrees lower than that while you’re at work (if you’re a heavy sleeper, you can do this while you sleep as well and double your savings). If you have a programmable thermostat, you can preset schedules to follow this trend without needing to remember to set it.
Stopping Air Leaks
An energy audit is the most reliable and effective way to locate air leaks and other energy waste. Even if you don’t have access to an audit, you can still find the leaks yourself with some incense. Light a stick of incense so that it produces wisps of smoke. This will give you a visual cue for the locations of leaks. Slowly pass the lit stick along corners, outlets, light switches, windows, doors, pipe entrances, and chimneys. If the wisps of smoke curling off the incense suddenly change direction without you moving the stick, you may have found an air leak. Patch these leaks up using weather-stripping or caulk to prevent more air from escaping.
If you use a fireplace, keep the damper closed unless you have a fire burning. A lot of air can escape when the damper is open (much like running the AC or heater with a window open in your house all the time). When you are using your fireplace, if you have a thermostat for a furnace, set the temperature on the thermostat to between 50 and 55 degrees F. Installing tempered glass doors and a heat exchanger on your fireplace will really improve the fireplace warming capabilities, making sure your home is nice and warm without losing much heat. Lastly, make sure the hearth of your fireplace is sufficiently sealed with caulk to ensure there aren’t any air leaks.
Regular maintenance is a must for your heating and cooling system. Early autumn is the ideal time to get maintenance on your heating system as technicians won’t be quite as busy as in the peak-demand times of winter and summer. If you have a furnace, replace the filter once every month, or as needed to ensure proper airflow. With wood or pellet burning heaters, it is important to clean the flue and the inside of the heater regularly to keep the heater working efficiently.
Mister Sparky Electrician Houston, America’s On-Time Electrician, serves Houston, Texas and the cities of Katy, Sugar Land, Cypress, Spring, The Woodlands and others with a team of certified electricians. In addition to emergency electrical repairs, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet/switch repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections. Call us today at: (281) 907-8418.