Summer is over. Depending on where you live, you may be feeling the onset of autumn—a briskness in the air and the changing color of the leaves. Before the temperatures drop any lower, Epcon Communities has some energy-saving tips for fall.
Get your heating system serviced.
Don’t wait until you’re relying heavily on heating your home to make sure everything is functioning properly and safely. Contact a professional to inspect and service it.
Check for air leaks.
Drafty spaces around exterior doors, windows, and outlets allow cold air to seep into your home. Carefully inspect each of the potential culprits and use weatherstripping, caulking, mastic tape, and other resources to patch the cracks and block the drafts.
Prepare your fireplace.
Here is an area that’s at risk for heat loss. Close the flue when you’re not using the fireplace so you don’t allow the outside air to flow in from the chimney. Install tempered-glass doors and add a fireplace grate with C-shaped metal tubes that inhale the cool air from the room and exhale warm air back into it. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, hire a pro to clean and inspect the chimney. Creosote build-up is highly flammable and a common cause for home fires.
Clean or replace your air filter.
A clogged or dirty filter reduces the airflow, which makes your system work harder to overcome the resistance. This should be done every month or two.
Clear the path for warm air.
Make sure your vents and air ducts aren’t blocked by furniture, rugs, and other obstacles. Just like a clogged air filter, this blockage makes your system work harder, which takes more energy and drives up your energy costs.
Wrap your water heater.
Is some of the heat you’re paying for escaping from your water heater? Touch the surface to find out. Newer water heaters are insulated to prevent this waste, but older ones could be costing you. The Department of Energy estimates that you can save between 7% and 16% in your water heating cost by wrapping insulation around your water heater. Do the same with your water pipes and you could eliminate that waste, saving 3% to 4% on your annual costs and increasing the water temperature 2° to 4°F. And if you gain these degrees, you’ll be comfortable with this next step.
Lower your water temperature.
Of course, you want warm water in the winter, but don’t overdo it. Reduce the water temperature to 120°F, which not only saves electricity (and money), but also reduces mineral build-up and corrosion in your pipes.
Invest in a smart thermostat.
You should reduce the temperature in your home when no one is there. Turning it back 7° to 10° for 8 hours a day can save about 10% on your annual heating and cooling costs. With a smart thermostat, you have all the control in the palm of your hand: your smartphone. So, even if you forget to adjust the temperature, you can do it from wherever you are. You can also turn it up when you’re on your way home so it’s nice and comfortable when you arrive.
Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans’ blades.
During the summer when you want a gentle breeze, your ceiling fans should operate in a counter-clockwise direction. To push warm air back down (because hot air rises), the blades should turn clockwise.
Add up all the potential for this energy savings checklist and it’s certainly worth the little effort it will take!
Looking for an alternative solution?
If your current home has become too much of a drain on your own energy (as well as energy bills), maybe it’s time to move to a home that’s fully updated and comes with a low-maintenance lifestyle. Take a look at Epcon Communities. Our communities of single-family homes are designed to give you more leisure time. Choose one of the many single-level floor plans and add a second-floor bonus room as needed to suit your needs. Exterior yard maintenance is often included, and you can truly take it easy as you enjoy the private outdoor courtyard available with most of our available models. Look at the locations of Epcon Communities around the country and then contact us to learn more.