Fall Cleaning Tips to Save Energy
September 14, 2015
In “Back-to-School Energy Savings Tips”, we suggested things you could do to save money once your kids start school. Now, with summer ending and fall approaching, we want to suggest ways you can clean your home to save energy. Every season, you can take some special cleaning measures to save energy. Fall is one of the more challenging seasons to save energy, with outdoor temperatures fluctuating. Here are some suggestions of what you can clean this fall to save money on energy costs.
- Clean windows. As we mentioned in “Heat Your Home with the Sun’s Help”, clean windows let in more warm sunlight than dirty ones. Make sure your fall cleaning includes cleaning windows until they’re free of dirt and blemishes.
- Prepare windows to trap heat and seal out cold. In ”Heat Your Home with the Sun’s Help“ we talked about ways to use warm sunlight to heat your home. One of the most important things to do is make sure your windows are sealed. This might involve glazing windows or replacing old weather stripping with new. You can also apply plastic coverings to help insulate your windows.
- Get an HVAC Check-Up. If you didn’t do this before summer, now is the time to do it—before you start the costly winter season, when you’ll be running your HVAC unit nearly constantly to keep the house warm. A good, professional HVAC check-up could save you hundreds on utility bills. The professional will check for blockages, inspect seals, and test the system to ensure it’s working at its most efficient.
- Clean your gutters. Leaves that collect in gutters can cause blockages in your home’s external water drainage system—which could lead to leaks that can be costly. After the last of the leaves have fallen, clean out your gutters—or have a professional do it—to keep your gutters clear and the water running smooth through them.
- Adjust your thermostat—again. In “Back-to-School Energy Savings Tips” we suggested you begin to adjust the temperature in your home when your kids go back to school and the house is empty during the day. Now that fall has arrived and the temperatures are officially dropping, reset your thermostat again to save energy. The best way to use a thermostat to manage temperatures is to use a programmable thermostat. Our article “Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat” explains the features and benefits of these units.
- Clean your refrigerator. As we said in “Most Energy Hungry Appliances”, the refrigerator accounts for 4% of the average American’s annual utility bill. During your fall cleaning, take the time to vacuum its condenser coil (it’s usually in the back or on the bottom) to make sure the fridge is running efficiently. Throw out old food to ensure that your fridge is cooling food you want—not food that’s trash.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most water heaters default to 140 degrees. In the hot summer months, it’s less likely that people will be getting shower or sink water as hot as possible. But in the fall, when the temperature dips and cold rainy days become common occurrences, people might seek refuge in a nice hot shower. But water above 120 degrees Fahrenheit can scald skin—and cost you lots of money. So set the temperature at 120 to ensure you’re not wasting hot water—and money.
These are just some of the ways you can clean your house this fall to make it more energy efficient. Chances are, there are other steps you can take that are specific to the energy needs of your home. Combine your personal needs with the ones above so that your home is clean for fall—and ready to save you energy and money.
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