After another summer of heat waves, humidity, and sweat, we are due for a cool down in the DMV region. Before you start to crank that heat up and make fall plans, plan to prepare your home to withstand changing conditions with home energy efficiency in mind. Here are a few DIY steps you can take:
- Inspect furnace– The furnace needs to be routinely inspected and kept clean, especially before frequent use in the fall and winter months. Two quick actions are removing dust from components of the furnace and changing the filter (the filter should already be changed at least every three months). These measures can go a long way in improving the furnace efficiency and air quality in the home.
- Let the sun in- In the summer, blinds are shut to prevent intense heat from coming in. Now that cooler weather is approaching, those blinds can be opened to let the suns rays in to naturally heat the house during the day. Simply shut those blinds at night when the heat is running to prevent heat from escaping.
- Insulate water heater- A majority of heat loss from the water heater comes from heat escaping the tank itself. A water heater blanket that wraps around the tank can save losses by 25-45%. Blankets typically run for $25-50 and are simple to install.
- Insulate piping- Just like the tank itself, insulation around the pipes will prevent heat loss as water travels from tank to faucet head. There are inexpensive insulating materials to complete this DIY project with, like foam or rubber pipe insulation found at Lowe’s. After a few hours of wrapping pipe, the DOE estimates that your water temperature can be two to four degrees hotter than if piping was uninsulated.
- Adjust timers for lights- Daylight savings time is coming to an end. Make sure to adjust timers to account for changing sunrise and sunset times to prevent wasteful lighting.
- Clean those gutters- Tree debris is about to start piling up once leaves start to fall. This accumulating weight coupled with rain can become a moisture issue on the roof and into the attic, raking up a big cleanup bill. Clear debris out of the gutters to let water flow to downspouts and properly drain. Just be careful climbing up the ladder!
As always, if you are unsure about installations or a certain appliance it is a good idea to call an expert. They can provide the expertise and services needed to feel comfortable in your home as the seasons change.