Preparing Your Home for Fall Weather
Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts, but keep in mind that fall is right around the corner. Now is the perfect time to make sure your home is ready for cooler temperatures.
While Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and back to school, beach season is not officially over until September 22, 2018. So, enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. However, fall will be here before you know it and, as everyone’s favorite Game of Thrones family likes to remind us, “Winter is coming.”
Now is the perfect time to make sure your home is ready for cooler temperatures.
3 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall 🍂
According to an Energy Information Administration (EIA) survey, average residential energy usage can be broken down accordingly:
- 42% Heating
- 30% Appliances, Electronics, Lighting
- 18% Water Heating
- 6% Air Conditioning
- 5% Refrigeration
With winter closer than most of us care to admit, early fall is the perfect time to address energy efficiency – long before your first heating bill arrives. But outside of turning off the heat and huddling for warmth under a mountain of blankets, what are your options?
✔️ Have Your Furnace Inspected
The first thing you should do every fall is have your furnace inspected, says Royale Scuderi, Lifehack. “Hire an HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter.”
✔️ Address Common Sources of Energy Loss
Your home is probably not as energy efficient as you think. In fact, your home is constantly losing energy. Right now, it’s losing energy. And now. And…well, you get the idea. However, the reasons behind this are probably not the areas of your home you would imagine.
- Exterior Air Leaks: No home is airtight, but that doesn’t mean you should just accept your home’s current level of energy efficiency. “Sealing air leaks around your home and adding insulation can help your home be more comfortable and energy efficient and provide up to a 10% savings on your annual energy bills,” says Energy Star.
- Chimneys: “While a fireplace is a source of heat, an open chimney can amount to up to 70% of heat loss in a room,” says Katie Gloede, Architect Magazine. As we all know, heat rises and with nothing to stop it, it rises right up your chimney and out of your home.
- Electrical Outlets: Switches and outlets are not airtight, which can cause air leaks and energy loss. The problem: when running wires, contractors drill through the top and bottoms of walls, creating new areas for air to infiltrate your home. Air from the attic, basement, crawl space, garage, and other unconditioned spaces find their way into your walls and into your home, via your outlets and switches.
- Windows: “Windows lose more heat per square foot of area in winter and gain more heat in summer than any other surface in the home,” according to the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Because of this, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that windows account for 25-40% of our annual heating and cooling costs. This is because heat always travels from warm areas to cool areas along the path of least resistance – in this case that means your windows. While the average exterior wall has an R-Value (a measure of a material’s resistance to heat flow) of 13.1, the average window has an R-Value of just 1.16, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
✔️ Invest in Energy Efficient Window Treatments
According to Homewyse, the average replacement window installed by a licensed, bonded and insured contractor will cost between $348 and $469 per window. A simple and more cost effective way to address window energy loss is to upgrade your window treatments – a far more cost-effective option than replacing every window in your home. “Some carefully selected window treatments can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer,” advises the U.S. Department of Energy.
Honeycomb Shades are a fantastic option if you’re looking to make your windows more energy efficient. Their energy-saving cellular design adds a layer of insulation to your windows, keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Each honeycomb, or cell, produces insulating pockets of inert air, a poor conductor of heat. Honeycomb shades can actually increase a window’s R-Value anywhere from 3.45 and 5.00, slowing the transfer of heat by as much as 55-65%These versatile shades don’t just transform how a room feels, but how it looks as well. Available in over 125 fabrics and a variety of lift systems, these shades are the perfect addition to any home decor.
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