We spend a lot of money on air conditioning and heating in New Jersey. It only makes sense, people want to control the atmosphere in their own homes so they take full advantage of the technology that allows us to do so. Jersey is home to some extreme temperatures and humidity and we expect and accept that once we step outside of our homes. But inside our homes we want to create our own little comfortable world. So we have our air conditioners and we have our heaters.
A lot of people are of the opinion that the fall has the best weather you can expect from and that’s great. For at least a few weeks in October and November, it seems like the weather just couldn’t get any better. Not too hot, not too cold, nice breezes and the occasional rain, that’s what we’ve come to hope for in the fall. What many people don’t think about though is just how big an opportunity this changing weather is for saving money on our electricity bills. Because the weather is changing, the way we use our air conditioners and heaters can change as well. There are a number of methods and strategies that will be examined in this tip on how you can save the most money possible on your energy bill this fall.
Use Those Curtains
In the summer, the main method you had for utilizing your curtains to their fullest was to use heavy, sun-blocking drapes as often as possible during the day. That way, the sun would be blocked from entering your home as much as possible and you could limit how much heat that direct sunlight added to your house. This was great because the more sunlight you get in your house during the summer, the harder your air conditioner had to work to make up for it. But in the fall it’s a little bit different.
In the fall, how you use your curtains is going to depend on the weather of the day. Since we’re going through a transitional period where sometimes we’re going to have warm days and sometimes we’re going to have cool days, there’s no hard and fast rule about when you want to block sunlight and when you want to let it in. When it’s cool enough outside that your house is starting to feel a little chilly inside, take advantage of the sunlight as much as possible and open the curtains, especially on south-facing windows. This will let the sun do some of the heating work for you so your heater doesn’t have as much as of a work load keeping your house comfortable. Also don’t forget to clean. Clean windows let in more warm sunlight than dirty ones. Make sure your fall cleaning includes cleaning windows until they’re free of dirt and blemishes. Then at night, close your curtains so that the amount of chill you get from cold windows is reduced. So, basically, you’re going to want to do the reverse in the fall as you did during the summer, open curtains during the day and closes curtains at night. This is for the days that are chillier. It’s a small but discernible difference that will affect your energy bills positively.
Consider a Smart Thermostat
This tip applies to all the seasons but during the fall it’s especially apt because your thermostat settings are probably going to be more variable then during the dead of the summer or winter. The beauty of smart thermostats is that they take the hard work of remembering to change these thermostat settings off your back. What’s often considered that one of the best things one can do to save money on heating and air conditioning is to raise or lower the thermostat setting appropriately when you aren’t experiencing the comfort that your HVAC system brings. Most often this is when you’re sleeping or at work. During these times, you want your thermostat set a little higher than normal if it’s warm outside and you’ve got the air conditioner running, and a little lower outside when it’s cool outside and you’ve got the heater running.
So that means changing the setting on the thermostat every time you leave the house for a long period of time and every time before you go to bed. That’s something most people just don’t have the time or patience for. That’s where smart thermostats come in. They can be programmed to do the thinking for you so you save money without worrying about adjusting the thermostat yourself. Some of them can even learn you schedule and adjust automatically over time, or sense when you’re home, when you’re asleep, when you’re getting close to home. These kinds of advanced settings are especially helpful during the fall when you’re preferences for air conditioner and heater usage are going to change with every week.
Utilize Open Windows
Many find that they’d spend a lot more time outside during the summers if it wasn’t for all of those terrible mosquitoes. They prey upon us when the weather is at its hottest and can sometimes make being outside miserable. What this means is that even on days when there’s a nice breeze that would feel good coming through our windows, we want nothing more than to keep our houses as outside proof as possible during the summer.
Of course, this can be avoided with the use of window screens, but even still, the extreme heat during the summer means that most of us never utilize our windows. But the fall changes things. Suddenly we have cool breezes and pleasant days filled with weather that feels great to be in, and less mosquitoes of course. This gives us a great opportunity to use our windows to reduce our energy bills. On the days that the weather seems just right outside, not too cold and not too hot, go ahead and open up those windows. It will help air circulate and take some of the cooling and heating work load off your air conditioner and heater. A nice breeze is the perfect way to keep your home comfortable.
Keep Warm at Night
Once the fall rolls in some actual chill, a lot of people are tempted to immediately turn on those heaters. But the fall and its temperate weather brings an excellent opportunity to use neither the air conditioner nor the heater at least sometimes. With the proper use of windows, curtains, blankets and sweaters, one can stay comfortable without using the heater even at night.
So the next time the nighttime brings with it some weather that’s a little colder than you’d prefer to sleep in, instead of reaching for the thermostat, reach for an extra heavy blanket. Bundle up at night and you’ll save a significant amount of money during those eight hours or so of sleep time. There is no better feeling than cuddling up with some cozy blankets and you’ll be saving your hard earned cash.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
When we do reach those colder temperatures during this fall, which will happen eventually, you’re going to want to protect the warm air your heater produces as much as possible. When it’s too cold outside to consider opening windows, the last thing you want is for warm air to escape your home that you’re spending hard earned money producing.
That’s why this makes an excellent time to check for drafts and air leaks. You can use a candle or incense to detect air leaks around the edges of your home, especially windows and doors. Shut all the windows and doors in your home and hold a lit candle up to the seals as you walk around. When you see a flicker, this could be the sign of a gap. Most smaller gaps can be filled in with caulk. For windows, you can use weather-stripping to improve insulation. And covering your windows in window plastic will create an air tight gap on your window. This can help keep cold air out and warm air in. And since windows are a large source of heat loss, closing your drapes can help to block the warm air from escaping at night. You could also consider getting door sweeps or draft guards for your doors. This will prevent any warm air from escaping your home. All of this is to say that one of the best things you can do to save money during the fall is to be proactive about insulating your home and prevent the warm air your heater produces from escaping into the cold outside.
Keep an Eye on Those Ceiling Fans
You can use your ceiling fans to help with heating and cooling. They don’t produce any warm or cool air but they can change how the room feels to you. The direction in which the blades spin will make a difference. When it’s cold, you want fans to circulate warm air, so make sure that they are set to spin in a clockwise direction. A counter-clockwise setting is to be used for cooling. Using your ceiling fan with your air conditioning and heating system will help you to reduce reliance on it so you save more energy. It may not make a huge difference but all of these small things will certainly add up.
Saving money, we all want to do it. Fall presents us with a unique opportunity to reduce our energy bills to the lowest they can get all year. Because we get some moderate temperature in the fall here in Jersey, we don’t have to use our air conditioners and heaters as much. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to maximize our savings by default. Using these tips, you can ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to heating and cooling your house during these fall weeks.
Don’t forget that even during the fall, sometimes things go wrong with our HVAC systems. If you find yourself in the need of heater repair and you want it done well and quickly, call ADE Heating and Cooling at 609-693-6050!!