For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of fall is September 23. I am looking forward to not only a break in the heat, but also to the fall colors (sort of, in Texas). Fall also is a great time to start preparing your home for cooler weather to help save energy and money. Our friends at http://www.earthshare.org/ have some great tips to help get your home ready:
Caulk it: Small spaces and gaps around windows, pipes, and wires entering the home create energy wasting drafts that can cut the efficiency of your heating system. Most caulking products cost under $10; rope caulk, one of the easiest types to apply, sells for about $4 for 40 or 50 feet.
Block drafts: Draft blockers are foam plates that fit behind light switches and electrical outlets to reduce drafts that enter through those spaces. You can get a packet of ten for about $3, and they're easy to install with just a screwdriver.
Install heat reflectors: These are thin sheets that fit behind radiators, to reflect heat away from the wall and into the room, thereby maximizing each radiator’s energy efficiency.
Upgrade your thermostat: Changing your thermostat to a programmable one allows you to control the temperature in your home at different times of the day without you being home. Keep the heat off when you're out of the house, and set it to turn back up before you get home. Some thermostats also have a second set of settings for weekends, when people usually spend more time at home. The thermostats range from $90 to $175, but can save 12% or more on your energy bill and pay for themselves within three years.
Reflective Window Film: Place these thin, plastic sheets directly on the inside of window panes and glass doors. The film reflects inside heat back into your home, reducing the amount that is conducted outside through windows. The film costs about $10 a window and is easy to put on—it adheres to the window directly, or with the help of water from a spray bottle.
Weather stripping: Create a tight seal around all your windows to reduce heated and cooled air from escaping outside. Weather strips are plastic, foam, felt, or rubber strips that fit around window and door frames with a self-adhesive backing. Prices vary, but average about $5 per window or door.
What are you looking forward to as we enter the fall season? Let us know by commenting below!.