It’s Energy Awareness Month – Just in Time to Prep for Cold Weather
Oct 02 2017
With the cold, darker months approaching, October is the perfect time to gauge your energy use. We have some suggestions to help reduce your energy use and lighten your load on the planet.
Fall Energy Savings
Cool fall days are here – it’s time to turn off the A/C and open your windows for some cross ventilation. Bonus: great fall smells wafting in on the breeze.
Put away that leaf blower! Raking the old fashioned way uses zero fossil fuels, provides free exercise (burning 150 calories every 30 minutes) and isn’t a half bad way to spend a beautiful fall day outside.
Compost those leaves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – especially if you do it at home. Leaves can be piled in garden beds to act as mulch or placed in your backyard compost pile. Otherwise, put them at the curb for the yard waste truck to pick up to compost off-site. Make sure they are either in a reusable container clearly marked for yard/landscape waste or paper yard waste bags – no plastic bags and no loose leaves.
Learn more about composting at our Fall Composting Seminar on October 10th
Heat Your Home, Not the Outdoors
Now is the time to perform some maintenance to make sure your home is ready for cold weather. You’ll save energy, be more comfortable, and save money. Do what you can to seal your home so that the warm air from your furnace doesn’t rush outside into the cold winter air.
Inspect windows and doors and seal any cracks. If you rent, try using draftstoppers. Get your home up to today’s efficiency standards by adding more insulation and air sealing in your attic and basement, the areas where the most air loss occurs. Have a professional conduct a test to identify the hard to find leaks. It’s a bigger project that has an equally big impact. You can also seal your fireplace in between uses with a removable chimney plug such as this one. Otherwise, your chimney can act like a straw sucking out the warm air from you home.
Make sure your furnace is working efficiently. Have it tuned-up and be sure to replace your air filters at least every three months. Your furnace won’t have to work as hard to heat your home. Getting your air ducts cleaned can also reduce obstructions in your vents that may cause your furnace to work harder to push air throughout your home. You’ll also be breathing cleaner air inside.
If you have a programmable thermostat, be sure to use it! Program it to be cooler, especially for overnight and when you are not home. Adjusting your thermostat down a few degrees during the winter can have a big impact on energy use.
Can you fit your car(s) in the garage? If not, clean it out – while it’s still nice – so you can. Storing your car indoors will keep the cabin warmer so that you won’t have to crank the heat. No matter what kind of car you have, running the heat or A/C requires extra fuel.
Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us! If you need to purchase new holiday lights for decorating, be sure to purchase LED strands. They use up to 90% less energy than your typical lights. Make sure to use a timer or light sensor so that your lights are only on when they can be seen.
Final Tip: Recycle your burnt out or unwanted holiday lights at SCARCE year-round
Check out more Energy Awareness Month advice from the Alliance to Save Energy.