There’s no mistaking it now: Summer’s over and blessed fall weather has set in across Alabama.
Beyond enjoying the state’s fun fall festivals and football, this is a great time of the year – October is National Energy Awareness Month – to make simple fixes around the home that can set you up for significant energy savings. Here are nine ideas for fall that can help manage your energy costs – now and all year long.
A little caulking and weatherstripping can go a long way. Fall is an ideal time to seal air leaks before cold weather sets in. Use weatherstripping around exterior doors and windows. Use caulk or other sealants to fill holes and cracks and stop drafty air leaks along floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, window frames, plumbing penetrations, vents and electrical outlets.
Look in on your heating system. It’s the right time to get a professional to do a seasonal check on your heating system to ensure it is operating at top efficiency before winter arrives.
Change those filters. Replacing or cleaning the filters on your home heating and cooling system will help it perform at its best.
Give your water heater a hug. Next to your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, the water heater is the next-biggest energy user in your home. Snug up your electric water heater with an inexpensive, insulating blanket that wraps easily around the unit. And, if the hot water pipes coming out of the unit aren’t insulated, it’s easy to wrap them, too, with insulating foam covers. You’ll find these items at most hardware and home-improvement stores.
Check the water heater thermostat. Is your water heater running too hot? Many water heaters are preset by the manufacturer at 140 degrees, which is hotter than needed. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning down the temperature to 120 degrees can help lower your energy use.
Go low-flow. Consider replacing your showerheads with more efficient, low-flow fixtures and add low-flow aerators to your kitchen and bathroom faucets. They can help you use less hot water, for more energy savings.
Open the windows. When the weather is fall-perfect, bring that perfect outdoor temperature indoors and give your HVAC system a rest. When it does get chilly outside, set your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day, and lower than that when you’re in bed or not at home. For every degree you lower your thermostat when its cold outside, you’ll reduce your energy use.
Update your thermostat to a programmable version. Programmable thermostats make it easy to set the temperature automatically at different hours of the day and squeeze more savings while still staying comfortable. There are many models to choose in a variety of price ranges.
Think Energy Star. Energy Star certified products – from lightbulbs, to thermostats, to appliances to heat pumps and water heaters – can save you money on energy use versus those that are not. If it’s time for you to replace any of your home appliances or your heating or cooling system, consider Energy Star. Rebates and tax credits may be available on some Energy Star products. Learn more about Energy Star here.
For more energy-saving tips from Alabama Power, click here.