Fall is one of the best times of the year to refocus on the maintenance of your home. With the chaos that the holidays bring and the change in the season, it’s best to plan ahead to ensure your home can endure upcoming festivities and colder months ahead. These simple ideas when done ahead of time can help you save both time and money:
Check the heat.
The last thing you want in the middle of winter is for your heater to go out! Schedule a time now for a heating professional to check up on your furnace and ensure everything is running properly. Be sure to have the contractor check that the filters and coils are allowing enough air flow; if the system is not meeting the manufacturer’s rated efficiency you could be wasting energy or not generating enough heat. It’s best to schedule the appointment now to avoid any possible delays during the busy winter season. November and December have been noted to be the busiest times of the year for heater maintenance.
Seal the leaks.
An efficient heating system won’t save energy if your home isn’t air tight. Walk the perimeter of your home and look for any signs of cracks where air could escape. Double-check all doors that open to the attic or to the outside. If any cracks are found, they can easily be fixed with a tube of caulk, which is inexpensive and found in most hardware stores. Use the caulking to seal any air leaks where electrical wiring, plumbing or ducting comes through floors or walls. If you have a leak around your door, consult a local hardware store employee for appropriate weatherstripping or door sweeps. Plugging air leaks can drastically lower your electric bill when running the heater in your home.
Reverse for heat.
Check to see if your ceiling fan has a reverse switch. If so, you may be able to turn down your heater a few degrees and save some energy. Running the fan's blades in a clockwise direction will produce an updraft and push hot air down from the ceiling, warming the room below.
Leave the leaves.
Cleaning up leaves is a tedious chore most homeowners in mature neighborhoods have to endure. To save time and energy on your part, consider “mulching” your leaves instead of raking them. You can do this by mowing them or purchasing a leaf shredder from your local hardware store. Cutting the leaves into small pieces while they are dry allows them to decompose into your grass and nourish the lawn during winter. It also saves you the time raking and bagging!
Winter weather means chilly days and lots of layers. With guests coming and going, it’s easy to quickly accumulate mud, dirt, and clothing clutter as you enter the home. Add some structure to your mudroom or entry way with an organizer that allows you to stow away shoes and hang scarves, coats, and hats in a tidy manner. This will make your home look more open and spacious, not to mention it will save you the time cleaning!