Check your door and window weather-stripping. Air leakage is the biggest energy waste that we find in homes. Making sure doors and windows seal tight will make your home more comfortable this fall and winter. Keeping doors and windows locked when closed will increase the performance against winter winds.
Make sure heating vents are clear of furniture. If your system is designed to perform optimally then it needs to blow air / radiate heat without obstructions. Keep draperies, furniture, and rugs off the floor vents and away from radiators to make sure you are getting heat to the right places.
Close your fireplace damper when not in use. A chimney is a huge hole to the thermal envelope and of course heat rises. Cut your energy use by making sure the damper is closed tight so as little heat as possible can escape to the outside. If you no longer use your fireplace, seal up the chimney with a chimney balloon and insulation.
Check your landscaping. Cut back overgrown plants that block airflow to your air handler and trees that overhang your roof. Protect your plants from coming heavy snows by trimming them back. Plant a winter crop on your garden and collect leaves and grass clippings in your compost bin for a beautiful spring crop.
Close your crawl space vents. The best thing to do is to close your crawl space vents permanently and insulate your crawl space walls. If that is not possible at this time, at least close your foundation vents for the cold months. Add a square of rigid insulation over the vent to help things stay modestly warmer below your floor.
Clean out those gutters. You made it through the summer without having to crawl on the hot roof, congratulations. Now that temperatures are more moderate, it is time to make sure you don’t get damage come snow season. Take advantage of this time of year to clean out your gutters and inspect your roof.
Clean for efficiency. Refrigerators are huge energy hogs so keeping them maintained is critical. Vacuum the coils on the back and bottom and check the temperature. While you are at it, clean the lint hose for your dryer – this will prevent potential fires and reduce mildew problems.
Hang heavier curtains on your windows. No matter the quality of your windows, they are still the weakest part of the thermal envelope of your home. Adding insulating curtains will help offset against heat loss during the cold months that are looming.
Open the windows. The more energy efficient you get your home the less “fresh” air you get inside. Open the windows on these cool autumn days to not only enjoy the sounds of nature, but also air out any toxic chemicals that have built up over the summer.
Have your chimney and furnace inspected. Make sure your fireplace and heating system is ready for the colder weather that is on the way. Get your chimney professionally cleaned to make sure it is free of buildup and birds’ nests. The same can be done for your heating system; clean and efficient is the goal. You should have your HVAC system serviced twice a year (fall and spring).