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Healthy Home

7 Ways to Prep Your Home and Reduce Your Utility Costs for Fall

thermostatThe fall season is upon us here across the country.  The leaves are changing colors.  The pumpkin and apple farms are full of excited children hoping to find that perfect pumpkin.  The weekends are full of Harvest Festivals during the day and Halloween Haunted Houses at night.

The only negative thing about fall is the rising utility bills the colder weather brings.

An average American family probably spends close to $1,300 a year on utility bills.  Now that the fall weather is here, that number might go up.  The only way to lower utility costs is to learn how to reduce energy in your home.  Energy-saving tips can help you make small but meaningful changes that will keep the cold air out and save you money.  Keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees is only the first step.Here are some other ways to reduce energy in your home:

  1. Seal leaks by adding weather stripping around entry doors. Heat can easily leak out through the spacing surrounding the doorway. This instantly eliminates cold drafts.
  2. Fall is the perfect time to inspect the chimney in preparation of the first fire of the season. Hire a professional chimney sweep once a year to clean away soot and creosote, which can cause a fire. They also will inspect your flue, vent systems and pipes to make sure everything is connected and free of rust.
  3. Once a year, schedule an appointment with a heating and air conditioning technician to inspect your furnace before you need to turn it on to heat your home. The technician will make sure that there are no gas leaks and that everything is in working order. Be sure to replace filters regularly.  When buying a new furnace, look for one that is rated 90 percent or higher in energy efficiency. Replacing an old furnace with a more energy-efficient one can result in up to 30 percent savings. Be sure to look for the Energy Star label.
  4. Installing insulation could be the cheapest way to make the most impact when it comes to energy savings. Lay insulation in the basement, attic and crawl space. Insulation can also be blown into the inside of your exterior walls to retain heat during colder months.
  5. Heat gets sucked away through drafty windows, electrical outlets, light switches and other interior openings. Install foam gaskets behind outlets and switches to keep heat inside. Close unused outlets with plastic safety caps. Use caulk to seal openings around windows. Make sure your windows are locked to help keep heat inside.
  6. Open your curtains and blinds facing the south side of your home. The sun acts as free solar heating and also provides light during the daytime hours.  Be sure to close all window coverings in the evening to keep heat inside.
  7. Keep the temperature of your water heater set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit at all times to save money on your heating bill. This is also an important safety precaution if you have small children.

Do you have any energy saving tips that you would like to share?  Send us your comments!

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