With the fall just started, there’s still time to get your home ready for the winter. Although green is already giving way to yellow and auburn, it doesn’t mean we should give up green practices throughout the seasons. whichever project you choose to do from the list below, make sure to do it sustainably.
Find and seal leaks
Utility cut-throughs for pipes, chimney gaps, and recessed ceiling lights, are often a source of leaks that reduce the effectiveness of your heating system. You can either hire a licensed technician to perform an energy audit for your home or learn how to detect leaks yourself. Add caulk and weather-stripping to critical gaps, especially around draughty window and door frames.
Shut your fireplace chimney
Ironically, even an essential heating element like a chimney can be a source of heat loss. Even though a crackling fire in the fireplace warms your house, the chimney can act as a natural funnel that sucks heat out of your house. To prevent this, make sure the fireplace damper is closed any time you’re not making a fire, and also make sure the damper fits well. Remind your family members to keep doors and windows to the outside closed at all times, and keep the doors throughout the house closed so that an open window on the far end can’t suck out heated air from the entire house.
Have your furnace inspected
Even if your furnace is working fine, it might not be operating at its top efficiency. A defunct blower fan or a clogged burner can cause unnecessary overloads, where the furnace uses more energy and gives of more carbon than it needs for the same heat output. Prevent this by having your furnace inspected, and if needed, serviced at the first sign of the cool season. The service technician can clean all your burners, tighten the connections, and lubricate the moving parts. At the same time, they will check your air filters, as clogged filters block heat flow, causing your unit to work double time.
In many cases, it’s not the insufficient heat that is the problem but the heat that escapes. Due to laws of thermodynamics, heat is always looking for ways to escape to the cooler environment, which means you should improve the insulation to keep it inside. While insulating the attic should be your first step, you shouldn’t ignore the house siding either. While this project might seem overwhelming, with a mobile scaffolding rental, everything can be done within a week. To make your insulation upgrade sustainable, consider environmentally friendly materials such as cellulose, wood wool, or cork.
Save energy with holiday lighting
Although holiday lights don’t have a high power-rating, they keep flickering day and night throughout the season, easily adding up to your electricity bill which is already ‘loaded’ with increased consumption. Make your fairy lights more sustainable by choosing a LED version. While incandescent bulbs release up to 90% of their energy as wasted heat, LEDs emit very little heat, so they yield the same light intensity with a much smaller wattage.
Install smart thermostat
A smart thermostat can potentially save you hundreds a year on energy costs by automatically lowering and raising your home temperature while you’re away. Unlike traditional thermostats that maintain the temperature on pre-set times, smart models can learn your preferences and self-adjust accordingly, so no energy is wasted on heating while there’s no one at home. Many of them have connectivity features, as well, so you can control their operation with a smartphone even when you’re away.
When the outside temperature begins to fall, these tips and tricks can help you avoid cranking up the heat each day. While these preparations are necessary to keep your home comfortable in the most uncomfortable days, they’re also essential for lowering your home’s carbon footprint in the heating season.