Fall is here, which means winter isn’t far behind. You may not be able to control the weather, but you can make your home more energy efficient, lowering your heating bills in the process. There are lots of changes you can make around the house, ranging from free repairs and low-cost upgrades to much-needed window and appliance replacements that will pay you back for years to come. Let’s explore all the ways you can prepare your home for the fall HVAC season.
14 Ways to Prepare for the Fall HVAC Season
- Lay down area rugs: Create an extra-cozy feeling in rooms with tile or wood floors by covering them with area rugs just in time for winter. Carpeting acts as DIY insulation and makes it more comfortable to walk around on bare feet.
- Reverse the ceiling fans: Many people retire their ceiling fans for the winter, but you can save money and make your home more comfortable by running fans strategically. First, activate the reversing switch so the fan blows air upward. Then, set it on low. This circulates warm air near the ceiling down toward the floor, which proves most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
- Make use of solar heat gain: Sunshine provides free light and heat in the winter. To soak up as much warmth as possible, open the curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day. Then, remember to draw the curtains closed when the sun goes down to help insulate the glass against the cold night air.
- Use space heaters wisely: While they direct soothing warmth toward your chilly toes, electric space heaters are usually much less efficient than gas furnaces. Therefore, it’s best to use them sparingly and rely mostly on central heating for home comfort.
- Set your thermostat correctly: If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, invest in one this fall. You’ll notice decreased energy bills if you set the thermostat correctly. This includes choosing an at-home temperature no higher than 70 degrees, programming 8- to 10-degree setback periods while you’re away and sleeping, and resisting the temptation to override preprogrammed settings.
- Promote good air circulation: Check the supply and return air vents around your house. If any are dirty or blocked, clean them up and move rugs, curtains, and furniture out of the way to promote proper airflow. Then, keep at least 80% of your home’s supply registers open at all times to ensure proper system balance.
- Change your furnace air filter: This basic HVAC maintenance tip promotes good airflow. When you replace a dirty air filter with a clean one, your home stays more comfortable, and your energy bills drop by about 5%.
- Seal air leaks: Holes in your home’s external envelope allow heated air to escape, driving up your utility bills. Walk around the house and look for potential leaky areas, including windows and doors, electrical outlets and light switches on exterior walls, plumbing and electrical penetrations, and exhaust vents. Seal any leaks you find with caulk, weatherstripping, or spray foam.
- Seal the ductwork: Leaky air ducts are just as wasteful as a drafty window, allowing heated air to leak into unconditioned spaces behind your walls. Professional ductwork sealing helps your furnace deliver warm air where you need it most.
- Schedule furnace maintenance: After months of sitting dormant, your furnace needs some attention if you expect it to keep your home warm this coming winter. Make furnace tune-ups a priority every fall, and you’ll reduce your heating bills, prolong your furnace’s lifespan, ensure fewer breakdowns, and increase home comfort all season long.
- Install glass doors on your fireplace: If you have a wood-burning fireplace, cover the hearth with glass doors to prevent warm air from escaping up the chimney. Also, be sure to close the fireplace damper between uses. Otherwise, it’s like leaving a window wide open!
- Boost attic insulation: Half of the homes in America are poorly insulated. Fortunately, you can put a dent in your heating bill by boosting attic insulation. If there isn’t already at least a foot of fiberglass or cellulose insulation on the attic floor, it never hurts to add more. Don’t forget to insulate the attic hatch as well.
- Replace your aging furnace: While new HVAC equipment is an investment, you’ll enjoy a more comfortable home and lower energy bills for years to come. Make sure you hire a contractor who will size your system accurately and perform a professional installation. You may need to replace your air conditioner as well to ensure compatibility with newer blower technology.
- Replace your windows: If you have single-pane windows, they are probably several decades old and showing signs of wearing out. Replacing your windows can be pricy, but double-pane glass and insulated frames can provide tremendous energy savings and a significant comfort boost this winter.
Get Help Preparing for the Fall HVAC Season
Many of the HVAC tips listed above are easy, do-it-yourself adjustments, but others require help from a certified contractor. When you’re ready to schedule HVAC maintenance or furnace replacement, turn to Triple T Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our EPA- and RMGA-certified technicians always put your safety and comfort first. You’ll enjoy peace of mind, knowing you can trust us to deliver a job well done.
For more tips to save on heating bills this winter, or to schedule HVAC services, please contact Triple T today at 801-790-0460 if you live in Utah County or at 435-216-1608 for Washington County residents.