Fall is the perfect time to do a few home improvement tasks that will save you money over the colder months. The weather is still mild enough for working outside and no ice means it’s safer too. Here are a few no or low-cost renovations that will improve the efficacy of your home envelope and save money on heating costs.
Mind the Gaps
Caulking holes and gaps in your building envelope will help to keep your conditioned air indoors and save you 5% to 30% on heating. Check around doors and windows as well as plumbing and electrical fixtures and seal any gaps.
Prevent Burst Pipes
When temperatures drop below zero, uninsulated pipes can burst resulting in water damage. Check all the plumbing to ensure that pipes are insulated and protected.
Drain garden hoses, water features and ponds and cover them for the season.
Cleaning gutters of fall debris and repairing any damage the guttering and shingles may have undergone this summer is a very important task. Check that your attic insulation is even and that there are no gaps. Gaps in the insulation will allow warm air from the home to heat parts of the roof.
When the snow melts in those hot patches, it has nowhere to go if gutters are clogged with snow or debris. Overnight, the drop in temperature will cause these puddles of water to freeze, expand and push up under the shingles. Water will then drip down into the attic where it can cause mold, mildew and even rotting of structural members.
Your furnace will last longer and work more efficiently when you regularly change the air filters. Air filters should be switched every month and furnace maintenance should be carried out annually in the fall. Get a guide to DIY furnace maintenance here.
Check your ducting for holes and repair any gaps you find to ensure all your heated air ends up in the right places.
Check that furniture and other items have not been moved to block vents over the summer.
Switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs will save you money. Another option is to install dimmer switches which will regulate the amount of light you use. Dimmer switches use TRIAC technology which dims the lights by turning them off and on hundreds of times a second. This reduces the amount of energy you utilize and increases the longevity of your lightbulbs. This means that, by dimming your lights by 50%, you can save 40% on energy and prolong the lifetime of the bulb 20 times by reducing the amount of heat the bulbs are subjected to.
If you are changing your switches, use this opportunity to insulate behind the switch plate. Your switch plates are holes in your building envelope through which warm air escapes.