Looking for some sure-fire ways to save energy this fall? Improving your indoor comfort as well as saving money on your energy bill should be an important part of your fall home maintenance. Most of your energy savings can occur when you focus on the mechanics of your home (like the furnace) as well as the water system. Don’t know where to start? Follow these tips.

1. Adjust your thermostat

During the day, lower your thermostat’s temperature and wear warm clothes. At night, adjust the thermostat to 10-15 degrees lower than your daytime temperature. Your annual heating and cooling bills will reduce by 10 percent. Also close windows when the thermostat is on as they transfer heat outdoors. If you can, get a programmable thermostat that is easy to adjust. You can even program it to change the temperature when not in use.

2. Determine if your home uses a fireplace efficiently

Everyone’s homes are different and in more modern homes fireplaces are more efficient than older models. Traditional fireplaces have been known to pull air out of other rooms of the house, therefore making it cold in one area of the house. They can transfer heat to the chimney and out of the house. When not using yours, make sure the damper is closed. An open damper is like an open window, it allows warm air to pass and go right to the chimney. When using the fireplace, minimize heat loss by opening dampers at the bottom of the firebox. If you don’t have dampers, open the window nearest to the fireplace slightly and close all doors leading to the room. If you decide not to use the fireplace this year, fasten the chimney flue. Other homeowners close off certain rooms and say their fireplace provides all the heat they need without turning on the central heat! So determine which is better for your fall home.

DeForest windows doors

Image: DeForest Architects

3. Seal Cracks around Doors and Windows

Cracks and gaps around doors and windows let in cold air during the cold season. Experts say that sealing gaps around external doors can minimize air leakage by as much as 12%. You can seal gaps around your doors and windows with draught seals, weather-strips, and excluders. Install the excluders at the base of your doors and the strips and seals around doors and windows. This will stop the cold air from getting in and keep the heat out during the warm season.

You can also cover drafty windows with clear plastic sheets on frames or by taping clear plastic film to the insides of the window frames. The plastic should be sealed tightly to the frame to reduce infiltration. You can also install insulating drapes or shades on drafty windows after sealing air leaks.

4. Lower the Temperature of Your Water Heater

Water-heating accounts for a lot of the energy consumed in your home (14-25%). Reduce your water heater’s temperature to 120ᵒF. You’ll save energy and avoid burning your hands every time you shower. You can also save energy by spending less time in the shower. This saves gallons of hot water and reduces your water-heating costs. You can set a timer as you shower to help you adjust.

PorterFanna Architecture

Image: PorterFanna Architecture

5. Service Your Heating Systems

If possible, hire a professional to service your heating systems before the cold season starts. Well-maintained systems operate efficiently and help you to avoid wasting energy. Find out the maintenance required for every heating system. For instance, your furnace filter may need replacing every month and the flue vent of your wood-burning heater may need regular cleaning.

This season it is time to get ready for colder days ahead and saving energy should be at the top of your list. Refer to these fall tips to conserve energy and to winterize your home before the big chill comes. There is nothing like a warm home during the colder months, so anticipate the dropping temperatures and save energy at the same time.

Top image credit: Gelotte Hommas