Prepare your home for cooler weather

Outside of home

It’s difficult to think about considering the temperature outside, but fall weather will be here before you know it. Here are six ways to keep your energy use—and your utility bills—in check as the weather gets cooler.

  • Check for gaps in your walls around windows, doors and holes in exterior walls where cords and cables enter the house. Cool air that leaks into the house through those gaps can compete with the warm air your heating system pumps. Keeping cool air outside where it belongs will mean your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your family comfortable.
  • Set the thermostat at 68 degrees. At bedtime and before everyone leaves the house for the day, dial it down between 7 and 10 degrees. Lowering the temperature by that amount for eight hours a day can save up to 10% on heating costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. (If you have a heat pump, do not change your thermostat more than 1–2 degrees, as it could kick in the auxiliary heat and cost more.)
  • Install a programmable thermostat. The easiest way to ensure that the thermostat rises and lowers depending on whether anyone is in the house is to program it ahead of time to automatically change temperatures.
  • Reverse the direction that your ceiling fan blades spin. A clockwise movement pushes warm air back down into the room, which can make people in the room feel warmer.
  • Replace or clean the filters in your heating and air conditioning systems. A clogged filter blocks air from flowing through, which makes your HVAC system work harder and use more energy.
  • Make an appointment with an HVAC service to inspect your heating system and repair any problems before it gets really cold outside. Spending a little on maintenance now could head off a more costly problem later.