Ah, it’s that time of year again… a cool breeze, falling leaves, pumpkin spice lattes everywhere and of course, Halloween! As the days get shorter and the lights go on earlier, again this year, we present to you our top 9 fall energy savings tips. These home energy hacks will stop your electricity bill from being scary high this fall. Keep the spooky in your costume and not your monthly energy bill! Here are our favorite tips for this year.
#1 Welcome the warmth from morning sunshine
The days are getting shorter, but there’s still plenty of sunshine to warm your home. You can use the sun during the day to heat (and not to mention power) your home. Turn down the furnace during the day. Throw open those curtains to let the sun warm up your rooms in the morning and afternoon. Especially for those south-facing windows. Then close the curtains as the sun is setting to keep that warm air inside.
Power your home with the sun
Add an extra solar boost by adding solar panels! If you have a solar panel battery, this will keep your home powered by the sun all day and night and keep your energy costs at a minimum. Solar energy can help keep your bills low all winter when electricity costs typically skyrocket.
Another great tip for your windows is to buy heavy curtains to block drafts and stop cold air from coming into your home from the outside. If you don’t have heavy curtains, you can also hang heavy blankets. Another way to make the most of your windows is to add heavy-duty, clear plastic sheets or film to the inside of your window frames when the weather is cold. This will keep drafts and cold air outside and keep the warm air inside.
Don’t forget to check for leaks around the house!
#2 Find drafts, seal leaks and get comfy
Get in the habit of hunting down air leaks around your home during the fall months. Finding these drafty ghosts around Halloween will prepare your home for less energy loss during the winter months.
You can do this by feeling for air leaks around windows and doors on chillier days. These drafts are typically found around the edges, where the window is hinged, slides or meets another unit. Inspect your window and door moldings, tracks and weatherstripping for gaps or cracks. Replace worn weatherstripping and caulk any gaps.
Don’t forget the ducts
You can also install storm windows and doors as an added layer of protection for those winter months. And while you’re at it, seal those air ducts too. You may not know it, but leaky air ducts are a pretty big deal. In fact, it’s one of the top three energy wasters in your home. Homes that have HVAC systems (forced-air heating and cooling systems) have ducts that are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. However, about 20–30% of that air is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.
#3 Replace dirty filters and breathe easy
Banish dirty air filters! This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s so simple, even zombies can do this one. And you might be surprised that it actually makes a huge difference in your home energy savings: not only in the quality of the air around your home, but in the way your heating and cooling system works. If the air filters are dirty, your HVAC system is working harder and therefore spending more time turned on than it would with clean filters. And eventually can lead to an entire HVAC system failure! Keep your filters dirt and allergen free with this very simple tip for energy savings.
And while you’re at it, fall is a great time to get your HVAC system tuned-up for the winter months. Because let’s face it, winter is a pretty bad time for your heating system to go down.
#4 Don’t touch that thermostat
As the chilly weather approaches, you may feel tempted to bump up the thermostat to warm the house. But instead of using the heater, grab your latte, throw on a sweater and get cozy under the sun coming in through your windows. Keep your thermostat off as long as you can to reduce your electricity bill this fall.
Get a smart thermostat
Go smart with programmable smart thermostats, like the Google Nest thermostat. With a smart thermostat, you can set it to automatically change temperatures throughout the day to maximize the sun and your energy savings.
A programmable thermostat can save you around $180 per year on your electricity bills. They can also be set to learn your weekly schedule as well as programmed to tell you when to replace your air filters or if your HVAC needs servicing.
#5 Reverse your fans
The time isn’t the only thing that’s reversing in the fall. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to make sure they’re spinning clockwise in the fall. This super simple idea will help circulate the warm air in your home and keep it warmer, longer. That’s right, just changing the direction of the rotation your fan spins can reduce your home’s energy usage. This is because warm air naturally rises- and gets trapped in the ceiling. If your fan blades are spinning clockwise, they will push that air back down, you will feel less chilly, and the thermostat will stay off or lower.
And of course, if you don’t have ceiling fans, now is a good time to invest in them. Fans will typically be cheaper in the cooler months, and you can use them year round to keep those energy bills down.
And while you’re at the store, make sure to pick up a humidifier.
#6 Cozy up the air with steam
As the air gets chilly, it tends to dry out as well. Dry air feels colder than warm air, so put some warm life back into that air with moisture! Not only does humid air feel warmer, but it also actually holds heat for longer, so you’ll be able to keep the thermostat down for longer if you invest in a humidifier this fall. As a bonus, it will help with your dry, crackly winter skin and keep moisture in your nasal passages and lungs. You can also add essential oils to some versions to help keep your home smelling fresh when you’ve sealed off your home to the harsh outside.
#7 Switch to LED bulbs
If you’re not using LED bulbs yet, it’s time to switch off your old incandescent bulbs. That’s because traditional incandescent bulbs consume an excessive amount of electricity and waste it as heat (which is why they’re hot to the touch). In comparison, the best performing LED bulbs use 85% less energy. In addition, they last around 10-25 times longer than traditional bulbs.
Lighting accounts for around 15% of global electricity consumption and 5% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s worth it to make the investment in LED lighting for your home.
Helpful fall lighting hacks
Here’s a few more helpful tips to reduce your lighting energy usage as the days become shorter this fall.
Use automatic timers to turn off porch lights – or Halloween lighting and decorations – at bedtime. You can also use motion sensors for those lights that automatically turn off lights when a room is unoccupied. These motion sensors can cut your typical lighting costs by up to 50%. Light dimmers are also helpful to keep the lighting costs low and the mood right.
Now that we know how to set the lighting right, let’s see how we can save in other ways with those energy guzzling appliances.
#8 Economize your appliances
Let’s talk about vampires. It’s Halloween time after all. Okay, well, maybe not actual vampires, but these vampires are much scarier. They live in your home and they suck all the energy and your money every month! These vampires are the major appliances in your home, which make up a major percentage of your home’s energy use. In fact, after cooling/heating expenses, your washer and dryer use the most amount of energy in your house- around 13%! Your refrigerator comes in at around 4% with your oven and TV at around 3%.
You can see the visual full breakdown here.
Because your washer and dryer are such huge energy vampires. Here are a few of our favorite tips and hacks to reduce energy we found from everyday people.
Energy saving washer and dryer tips:
- Don’t use hot water to wash clothes. It uses a lot more energy, not to mention shrinks your clothes and wears them down over time.
- Wait to do full loads of laundry.
- Need something de-wrinkled? Use the steam while you’re showering instead of the dryer.
- Throw a dry towel into your dryer load. The excess water will be soaked up by the towel and reduce your drying times.
- If your utility company charges more for peak usage times (like evening), run your washer, dryer and dishwasher during the night to avoid paying more.
- Run your appliances strategically. If you have several loads of laundry to dry, run them consecutively so the dryer stays warm and uses less energy to warm up.
What about phantom energy usage? That is, electronics that are not being used but still using energy while in standby mode. These are phantom energy wasters and can use up to 10% of power consumption if not stopped. Here’s a clever tip for killing those phantoms: plug them into a power strip and snap it off when you’re done using them. Or, get smart with a Bluetooth smart plug or power strip that you can control with your phone.
#9 Shut your damper
Fall means dusting out the cobwebs from your fireplace, if you are lucky enough to have one. Everyone loves a cozy fire in the winter, and it’s a great way to keep those heating bills low. However, it’s also a secret energy waster if you’re not careful. If the chimney damper is open, it lets the cold air in and the warm air out- as much as keeping a window open! Make sure to close the damper – and get your fireplace checked every year to make sure it’s ready to be used and sealed properly.
Want to know if you have a leaky fireplace? We explained how to do a match test to check for leaks.
Stop those energy vampires with the power of the sun
We know it’s corny, but we just couldn’t help it with Halloween around the corner.
Now that you have this year’s best fall energy and money savings tips and hacks, what’s next? How about saving even more energy and money by installing solar panels? That’s right, going solar means not only using clean energy to power your home, but also solar savings on your monthly electric bill year round. Find out more with a free solar consultation.