As the leaves begin to change colors and the weather is (finally) cool and crisp, here are twenty tips for fall from the Green Committee at St. Anne’s!
Outside Your Home:
- Check the air pressure in your tires. Cooler temperatures lower tire pressure and that, in turn, lowers fuel efficiency. Test your tires and make sure they are properly inflated.
- Examine your roof for any missing or damaged tiles or shingles.
- Clean the roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house.
- Consider installing a rain barrel to direct the water from downspouts to where it’s most needed instead of draining into one spot.
- Bring in any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors. They’ll help clean the air indoors.
- Rake your leaves instead of using a “blower”.
- Use the leaves as mulch to protect plants throughout the winter.
- Add leaves to a compost pile to use throughout the year.
Inside Your Home:
- Clean and test the furnace.
Did you know? Your furnace collects all kinds of dust and debris, which not only affects its performance, but could cause a fire. Before you really need the heat, get out your owner’s manual for instructions on how to clean it. If you have a gas furnace, have it professionally inspected once a year.
- Move furniture or any obstructions away from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor or radiators to allow air to move freely. This is also a good time to vacuum these areas to remove any dust or debris.
Tip for Homes with Radiators: Place a reflecting panel behind it – either purchase one at a home center or make one yourself with a plywood panel and aluminum foil.
- Remove window air conditioners for the winter. If they can’t be removed, seal them with caulking or tape and cover them with an airtight, insulated jacket.
- Give your refrigerator some TLC:
- Vacuum the refrigerator coils to keep the compressor running efficiently.
- Verify the refrigerator is level (the door should automatically swing shut instead of staying open).
- Check the seal on the door by closing it on a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, it’s time to replace the gaskets.
- Throw away old food contents and don’t over-fill your refrigerator. Allowing room for cool air to circulate will keep everything at the right temperature and help it run more efficiently.
- Don’t leave your dryer out to dry:
- Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer.
- Empty the lint catcher after each use, and every once in a while, give the filter a good wash.
- Ensure your windows and doors are ready for the cold weather!
- Check windows for proper caulking. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss.
- Examine doors for adequate weather stripping and replace as necessary. If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, replace the threshold or block the drafts with a rolled-up towel or blanket.
- Electrical outlets, especially on outside walls, and light fixtures are prime places for cold air to leak into your home. Add foam gaskets behind covers and switch plates and use safety plugs in unused outlets. **Remember to shut off the power at the fuse box or circuit panel before working with covers and switch plates!**
- Install foam covers over outside water spigots to prevent freezing.
- Check for water leaks both inside and outside your home.
- Wrap the water heater in an insulating blanket.
- If you have a ceiling fan, reverse the direction for cold weather:
- Fans should run in a clockwise direction in the fall and winter to push the air up against the ceiling and down the walls. By doing this, the fan gently re-circulates the warm air without creating a cooling “wind chill effect.”
- HINT: Stand under the fan and if you feel a breeze, reverse the direction so that air is being drawn upwards.
- Do you have a fireplace? This is a good time to have the chimney cleaned and vent systems checked.
- If your home has no sidewall insulation, place heavy furniture like bookshelves, armoires and sofas along exterior walls, and use decorative quilts as wall hangings to help block cold air.
- Before packing away those summer clothes, go through them and determine which items to keep, which items to repurpose into something else (cleaning rags, craft projects, etc.) and which to donate.
Tips compiled from reducefootprints.blogspot.com by The Green Committee at St. Anne’s