Fall is finally here, with its changing leaves, fun family-friendly holidays, and chilly nights. However, as the seasons change and the temperature drops, you might start to notice your utility bills rising. Generally, energy bills and expenses climb as the weather cools off, since heating and cooling make up 54% of annual utility bills in the average home. Not everyone can afford energy bills spiking this time of year, especially with winter holidays just over the horizon. Instead of breaking the bank to keep your home heated, use these tips for a comfortable and cozy home through fall.
Watch Out For Windows And Doors
While you might not necessarily notice small drafts throughout your home during the warmer months of the year, they’re more likely to catch up to you once the weather starts cooling off. Even the smallest gaps under doors and windows in your home can result in massive loss of heat, meaning your HVAC has to work even harder to keep your home warm. Approximately 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through its windows, especially when those windows aren’t especially energy-efficient. Look to seal any gaps you can under doors and windows before it gets too cold out, and you’ll be able to reduce the amount of hot air being wasted.
Look At Your Landscaping
Just because the summer is over doesn’t mean it’s time to start ignoring the impact of your landscaping. Even though landscaping remains completely outdoors, it can have impressive impacts on how much or how little energy it takes to cool your home. Well-designed landscaping can create wind barriers during the winter, blocking some of the harshest, coldest winds from reaching your home. But if you’ve cleared out a portion of your lawn for baseball practice, you might not have the necessary wind cover. Fixing up your landscaping is a great long-term investment as well, as it can help reduce energy use in the summer too. Shade from trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 25% or more during the summer, and the shielding they provide against wind can reduce heating costs by 10%. See if you can add a few extra well-placed trees before the first frost hits, and you’ll still have enough time to benefit from this energy-saving method for the upcoming season.
Mind Your Maintenance
When was the last time you had a professional come and take a look at your HVAC system? If you can’t remember or if you know that it’s been a while, you’ll want to schedule service with a local contractor sooner rather than later. Keeping your HVAC system serviced regularly and well-maintained is key in ensuring its efficiency. These systems are built to last a long time, but can only do so while conserving energy if you’re diligent about maintaining them. At the very least, HVAC systems need to be inspected twice yearly for maximum efficiency. Not all maintenance requires a professional, necessarily; regular cleaning and changing of filters can generally be done yourself. This can save you a bit of money in the short-term, but be careful if you’re not sure of what you’re doing. When in doubt, it’s best to call in a professional to help you manage your HVAC, especially before cold weather hits. Not only will this help you keep your heat running at optimal efficiency, it will also help decrease symptoms of allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Stay in Contact with Your Heat Provider
As the weather cools down, make sure you’re staying in touch with your heating provider. You may be able to submit your own meter readings for your natural gas bills, which can save you the trouble of being at your heat provider’s estimation mercy. In addition, building a working relationship with your heating provider can help you resolve future issues, like a broken gas meter or inaccurate billing, much more quickly. Considering fast problem solving is the number one thing customers look for, this will undoubtedly save you time and money in the long run.
As the weather cools down heading into fall, now is the perfect time to get your heating systems ready to go for the winter. Doing so now will help you ultimately save energy and keep your utility bills lower, despite your HVAC working harder during the coldest temperatures of the year.