5 Energy-Saving Fall-Time Preparations for Homes and Heaters

Autumn is a transitional period when you could easily use the fireplace and the air conditioning on the same day. However, by the time October rolls around in Davenport, Iowa, the average low temperature drops to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Soon, heaters will be churning, burning, and boiling to life across the Midwest.

You can keep energy costs down from the start of the heating season when you prepare for the cold months ahead. Take advantage of the moderate weather in autumn and follow the five tips below to be energy-wise this fall.

  1. Get Insulated and Sealed

Autumn is a great time to find the cracks and gaps that allow frigid drafts to invade your space. Seal up and caulk openings all around your home, including those around window and door frames. Purchase thermal window treatments that keep warm (or cool) air from escaping out of windows.

Add insulation to your attic if more is needed. Heat rises out of under-insulated attics to the cold air above the roof. Keep that warm air inside your home by beefing up attic and other insulation.

Repair damaged basement windows, storm doors, attic vents, and other areas where drafts could enter your home. Check around utility openings and architectural joints for any gaps that could be caulked or insulated with foam.

  1. Use the Breeze and Sunshine

Take advantage of the cool breezes in fall and open the windows on warm days. Let the house air out while you go about your tasks. Cool upstairs rooms by placing fans in upstairs windows (point fan flow outside). Cool air is drawn to upper floors from the pressure changes created by the fans.

Of course, if your household has people with allergies or other respiratory issues, the open-window policy is not always possible. However, you can take advantage of bright, warm sunshine by opening window treatments and letting the rays warm your indoor spaces.

South- and west-facing rooms will be the coziest after being bathed in sunlight. Close thermal window treatments as the sun sets to keep the warmth in the room as the night grows chilly.

If you face unusually hot days in autumn (and you’re able to open windows), place box fans in windows to pull in the cool morning air. Close up the drapes and windows in the house once the air feels brisk inside, and the indoors will stay cool until the afternoon.

  1. Upgrade the Thermostat

If your thermostat is out of date, schedule installation of a new model. Today’s thermostats are more reliable and versatile than old-school thermostats, and programmable thermostats help you save money by regulating heat settings throughout the day.

There are basically two types of programmable thermostats. Electromechanical thermostats are easy for nearly anyone to use. Digital thermostats offer many custom settings but may be difficult for some people in the household to manage.

Thermostats fail due to faulty wiring, broken components, and simple old age. Thermostats may be situated in areas where they’re affected by heat or cold, with the result that they skew heating cycles. If your thermostat is unreliable, call in the professionals for a thermostat inspection or installation before heating season begins.

  1. Dust Off the Heater

No matter what you use for a heat source, your heating appliance needs a good examination before you fire it up this fall. Hire a service to inspect your furnace, stove, or other heating appliance. Or grab a flashlight and check the system out for yourself.

Problems can result if you don’t correct:

  • Dust and dirt in system
  • Chewed or loose wiring
  • Clogged, neglected filter
  • Animal nests and debris in furnace
  • Clutter around furnace
  • Corrosion in heater
  • Faulty or leaking gas lines
  • Torn or loose ductwork

Spot and repair these heating issues now, before you get caught with no heat on a bitterly cold night. If you hire a professional to go over your heating system, they have a checklist of details to inspect to give you peace of mind.

  1. Order a New Heating System

If your heater is worn out, it’s not an efficient means of producing warmth. Contemporary furnaces, heat pumps, and other heating systems are designed for energy-efficient operation.

Your old heating system may not be sized correctly for the layout of your home. The furnace may be too powerful or not powerful enough to keep your home cozy.

Your heating professional is a great source of knowledge about the types of heating systems that work well in your style of home. You can start the season with a clean, reliable, quiet heater that lowers your energy costs, too.

Find out what’s going on with your heating system by contacting Ragan Mechanical today. We inspect and repair heating systems of all types in the Davenport, Iowa, region, as well as in all areas of the Quad Cities region.

 

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