When you start to feel that nip in the air and the morning brings frost on the grass instead of dew drops, it might be time to fire up the furnace or start filling your wood shed for winter. Although the cool temperatures haven’t yet gotten unbearable, and you could probably power through with a wool sweater, some furry moccasin slippers, and a hot cup of cider, the family might be clamoring for a little heat in the house. Of course, any time you crank the thermostat, you know it’s going to cost you. But there are plenty of ways to keep your home cozy and warm without having to break the bank. Here are a few ideas that could save you some money when the leaves start to turn and Jack Frost begins nipping at your nose.
The first thing you might want to do is get a home energy audit. If you haven’t had this type of assessment done before, then fall is a great time to call in a professional technician to poke around your house in search of areas where energy waste is occurring. Once you’ve received a report, complete with suggestions pertaining to how to fix the problems listed, you can either start tackling a few DIY projects or call in your handyman to help you out. You may want to add weather stripping around windows and doors, put on storm windows if you have them (or consider the possibility of upgrading to double-paned glass at some point), and seal around vents, ducts, pipes, and even base boards where air is leaking. Of course, you might also want to consider the prospect of beefing up your insulation.
While most of these projects will cost you some dough, insulating your home against the elements will help to save you money on your energy bill, not only this fall, but for many seasons to come. So any repairs or upgrades you do now will likely pay for themselves over time. Some just may take more time than others. You can also make sure to stick to a regular schedule of services for you HVAC system, which will ensure that your furnace is up-to-date with cleaning and maintenance, hopefully allowing for peak performance and optimum efficiency when you fire it up. If you’re looking for some ways to save money that won’t cost you anything up front, however, there are also a few avenues of exploration open to you.
For one thing, you could reverse your summertime course of action and open your curtains during the day to let the sun shine in, heating up your home interior in the process. You can also time your cooking to coincide with the times that people will be in the common areas of the house. Since the heat from the oven is bound to permeate this area anyway, you might be able to ease off on using the furnace while you’re cooking. And if you happen to live in a wooded area or you have some land on which to grow your own sustainable tree farm, you could certainly chop wood for your fireplace. But chances are good that your Fall home heating checklist will require you to spend at least a little cash on either maintenance or upgrades in order to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. And you’ve no doubt heard that you have to spend money to make money.
So here’s one last tip along those lines: consider installing radiant floor heating. Whether you opt for electric or hydronic options, this ambient addition to your home will heat rooms from the bottom up and keep them warm longer than forced-air heating, and often at far less cost. Plus, options for room-by-room temperature controls mean that nobody has to be uncomfortable. If you live in a climate that suffers from bitterly cold temperatures from the onset of fall through early spring, this is one wise investment you won’t likely regret.