The sun is starting to set earlier and the air feels a little crisper, which can only mean one thing — fall is upon us. The changing of the seasons is the perfect time to take simple steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Here are five simple energy-saving habits to help you prepare for the fall.
With mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine, you will naturally want to open your windows and let some fresh air inside. Open curtains and blinds during the day to let sunlight naturally heat your home and close them at night to reduce the impact of the cool night on your home.
Being creative can actually help reduce drafty doors this holiday season. Use the season as an opportunity to decorate your doors and windows. Covering drafty windows doesn’t have to be a bore or a hassle. Use fun DYI plastic covers to keep in the hot air and block the cold from entering.
The changing of the seasons is a good time to re-examine your thermostat settings. Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature while you are spending time in your home. But when you leave your home for extended periods of time, lower your thermostat or program the thermostat to lower temperatures. Taking this simple step will help you save around 10 percent a year on your utility bills.
Cooler weather means cozy moments in front of the fireplace but fireplaces may also mean energy loss in your home if you don’t take steps to prevent it. Be sure to keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. In addition, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warm air back into the room and add caulking around the hearth. For more energy-saving tips, visit http://energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips
As you begin to decorate for the holiday seasons, make sure you use CFL’s and LED holiday light strings to reduce the consumption of energy for your light fixtures around the house. This simple step can significantly reduce the cost of decorating your home during the winter months. According to Energy Star, CFL light bulbs use 75 percent less electricity than traditional light bulbs.
Are you guilty of a leaky dog door? Many pet owners do not realize just how leaky dog doors can be. The combination of pet movement in and out of the house as well as outside wind forces and leaking air can lead to tremendous energy loss with heat escaping during the winter months and cold air escaping during the summer. These small amounts of energy lost can accumulate over time costing you more money and ultimately disturbing the desired comfort of your home.
In fact, Michigan residents Brian and Debra woke up one morning to find a snow drift in their living room that had blown in through their dog door. Fed up with the constant leaking of energy, this innovative couple decided to create Freedom Pet Pass dog doors – the most energy efficient dog doors in the world. They perfected a design to meet all their needs using DoubleMagTM seal technology for an airtight, weatherproof seal providing quality, durability, and safety for all dogs and homes.
Here are three questions to ask when looking to purchase an energy efficient pet door like Freedom Pet Pass.
If you choose to invest in an energy efficient pet door, you are not only preventing leaks but also ensuring the overall comfort of your home. Control your energy and live comfortably with your furry friends.
Have you ever heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) before? CSA is the fresher and easier way to purchase your favorite organic fruits and veggies while supporting local farmers.
It’s an easy process. Pay your local farmer a fixed fee at the beginning of growing season, and voilà! In return you’ll get a full box of the most natural and delicious farm goods. Several farmers in town offer the service. For example, Green Door Gourmet offers boxes starting at around $20 for a full box of seasonal goods. If you’re still not convinced to go CSA, here are four reasons you should consider signing up for your local CSA.
1. You’ll Enjoy the Freshest Fruits and Veggies
Did you know that every day a fruit or vegetable is being transported to the grocery store or sitting on the shelves, it is losing roughly 10 percent of its nutritional value? That means that by the time you are eating it, a fruit or vegetable has usually lost more than 50 percent of its nutritional value. On average, it takes roughly 5 days for a fruit/veggie to get from the farm to the store. Why eat half healthy foods when you can get freshly harvested fruits and vegetables directly from your local farmers every single week? Think about all the pure nutrients your body will be consuming to avoid diseases and continue living with great energy!
2. You’re Saving the Environment
Shopping CSA has countless environmental benefits. Because you are shopping directly from the farm, foods don’t have to endure long trips to grocery stores, cutting down on air pollution from transportation. Supporting farmers by shopping locally helps keep their organic farms healthy and full, preventing the need for harmful chemicals that can get into the waterways that we depend on. In short, we save energy, we save our water quality, and we enhance our community diversity.
3. You’re Saving Money
CSA’s are one of the most economically-sound alternatives to grocery shopping. According to learnvest, inc, you could receive a small box of broccoli, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash for $7 to $10 a week! Prices will vary depending on the location and the size of your local farm. However, compared to grocery stores, it is usually not only the healthier but also the cheaper option of the two. Who wouldn’t want to get the fresher and cheaper fruits and vegetables in town?
4. Opportunities for Fun Adventures
By joining your local CSA, you become more involved with local farmers who often offer opportunities to join in on fun activities at the farm. Local farmers host events like seasonal strawberry picking and Fall Festivals for both kids and adults to enjoy. In addition, these are fun ways to meet new people and enjoy time in nature.
You’ll never regret a decision to have more fun, be healthier, and save the environment all at the same time. Research your local farms/farmers and consider joining the CSA craze to experience better, more sustainable living.
Photo source: Green Door Gourmet
While high efficiency machines may save some energy, most older model dryers use about 3.3 kilowatt hours per load (source: Simpledollar.com). That’s more than double what a large window AC unit uses per hour! While you may have to exert some energy handwashing the clothes, your utility bills will thank you in the long-term.
According to Simpledollar.com, Americans pay about 36 cents for the energy to run the washing machine for one load of laundry, 40 cents for energy for the dryer and 11 cents for water — that’s almost a dollar per load! The costs for line drying clothes are minimal: a one-time fee for the line and clothespins. Tip: Make sure to bring clothes in before storms, as you may have to wash clothes again multiple times if exposed to weather, bird droppings, etc.
Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly-washed sheets? And the smell of sun-dried clothes is even more refreshing. Tip: Make sure you let your clothes dry in the sun for at least an hour. However, make sure not to leave them out in the elements for too long.
Never worry about shrinking your clothes again with line-drying! You also won’t have to worry about dryer melts and items left in pockets. Blue jeans, t-shirts, and thin clothing items weather much better on the line and will keep their shape much longer.
Insulating a home may seem like an expensive endeavor, but the truth is that there are a variety of economical ways to protect your home without sacrificing quality and performance. Insulating your home’s windows and doors yourself will cost you only a fraction of what it would if you were to hire a professional, and you can work at your own pace and around your own schedule. Start by insulating any doors and windows that get direct sunlight during the day for instant results. Modernize recommends the following effective insulation options:
Simply installing blackout curtains on your windows will greatly reduce the amount of energy that is needed to keep indoor temperatures comfortable. They’re easy to install, and they come in a variety of colors and designs to complement any style preference. Blackout curtains don’t have to be dark in color to get the job done, so you can expect to find bright colors, such as orange or red, to choose from. An entire set can be purchased for less than $100 at a local store or online.
Both windows and doors can benefit from weatherstripping, as it saves energy by providing a solid seal around the frames. Just about all home improvement stores carry weatherstripping at a low price, and they are easy to install, so you should be up and running within just a couple of hours of getting all your supplies home. All that’s required is that you peel off the old pieces of weatherstripping and replace it with new material. This is an insulation technique that should be repeated every few years to maintain optimal performance.
Applying energy film to your windows is a cost effective way to insulate your home from the outdoor elements, provide light filtering control, and reflect UV rays so they don’t get inside to damage your flooring or furniture. Window insulation film is also great at reducing exterior noise pollution and lowering monthly household energy bills. Once installed, the film is transparent, which ensures a crisp, clean look—however, you can find tinted or colored options on the market. Some are even designed to look like stained glass!
Small and moveable, door snakes are excellent accessories to keep around while spending time at home. When inside with the doors closed, you can place them along the bottom openings of your doors to keep cold air from entering and warm air from escaping so that your HVAC system doesn’t have to work so hard. Door snakes can be purchased for just a few dollars each at the store, or they can be made by stuffing old socks with rice or beans.
In addition to implementing the tips and trick outlined here, you may want to consider installing storm doors and windows if you experience harsh winters at home. They’ll act as complete barriers from the outdoors, and they provide undeniable savings in energy.
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