Home Maintenance Tips for Fall
Follow these energy saving tips to help prepare your home for the fall season and cooler months ahead.
As the seasons transition from summer to fall and we start to gear up for a change in weather (and changes in daylight hours), there’s a lot to do around your house. Before each new season arrives, it’s a good idea to make a list of areas in and around your home that might need tending to or specific places that may be affected by the change in temperature. When following home maintenance tips for fall, it’s also a good opportunity to improve your home’s energy efficiency – with easy, inexpensive, do-it-yourself tasks.
HVAC: Heating and Cooling Systems and Energy Costs
Just like with the summer months when you’re regularly running your air conditioner, in the fall and winter months, you’ll find you’re using heat quite a bit more. In order to make sure the heat stays in and your energy costs stay down, it’s recommended that you have an extensive inspection performed on your HVAC system twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall. A certified technician can recommend any repairs you may need (which can also help with making sure it’s running efficiently) before you start using it regularly. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you have an inspection done before the temperature drops because if there’s an issue it can be corrected and you’ll still have heat when it’s cold outside.
If your home has a working fireplace with a chimney, make sure to schedule a professional inspection and cleaning before using it throughout the winter. A thorough cleaning helps reduce the buildup of creosote – a flammable substance that’s produced when wood burns. Chimneys, fireplaces and furnaces all need proper maintenance to ensure that they are working properly and safe to use, which in turn can help reduce your monthly energy costs.
Make Your Entryways Energy Efficient
Insulating doors and windows is another good home maintenance tip to ensure your home is energy efficient for the fall and winter months. A home energy audit – or home energy assessment – is a good way to determine how much energy your home uses and where your home loses energy/heat so that you can address these problem areas. Many times, an energy audit will expose insufficient insulation around entryways, where heat can escape and cold air can enter. You can help protect the warm air inside your home through a number of ways – everything from upgrading to energy efficient doors and windows to easy DIY projects such as caulking and applying weather stripping.
- Add (or replace) weather stripping, door sweeps, and upgrade to durable general hardware (door jambs, door knobs, hinges, locks, etc.) to help keep your doors closed tightly and your home properly insulated year round.
- Adjust door thresholds to make sure you can’t see light under your doors (the door should be in contact with the threshold whenever you close it). Homeowners can do this by adjusting the height of the threshold (most thresholds have four or five screws that are easily loosened) and raising it so it meets the bottom of the door. Just be sure not to raise it too high or it could interfere with the door opening/closing and drag the threshold, which could wear out weather stripping.
- Don’t forget fireplace doors (if you have a fireplace) – Make sure your fireplace doors are airtight so that the warm air doesn’t escape up the chimney. Depending on the type of fireplace (older models that use room air for combustion or a modern model with a cold air intake), make sure it has the proper working parts, such as a door that has operable vents, if necessary.
- Seal gaps around your windows (and doors) with caulk or add/replace weather stripping to help cut down on drafts and warm air escaping and also to increase energy efficiency.
- Cover windows and patio doors with a clear plastic film, which can help reduce energy loss. Transparent film is an easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself project that won’t harm the trim and comes off easily if you choose to remove it.
- Keep curtains open during daylight hours to maximize the sun’s rays (for heating your home) and cover windows with heavy drapes at night to reduce drafts.
Easy Energy Saving Tips and Tricks
Make the most of home maintenance tips and help keep your energy costs down with these simple pointers. Help protect the warm air inside your house so that you don’t have to raise the temperature and use excessive energy/power to warm your home.
- Switch ceiling fan settings so that they turn in a clockwise direction and set them at a low speed. This will help draw the cooler air up toward the ceiling and force warm air down.
- Keep the area around your furnace clear of objects to ensure good air circulation, which can help you save money on heating costs.
- Install a programmable thermostat which allows you to adjust the heat to a schedule that will run the heat when you’re home, but lower the temperature when you’re not there or when you’re sleeping. Also, if you lower the temperature setting just a few degrees from what you normally do, it can help cut down on energy costs.
- Eliminate drafts anywhere you can – this includes around electrical outlets and pipes running through walls, and closing the chimney flue when you’re not using the fireplace.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.