Fall is my absolute favorite season, so I relish every brief moment we have of it in Colorado, But, is it just me or does it seem like winter is trying to horn in on our precious autumnal months this year? I mean, we weren’t even in the double digits of October and Mother Nature is already unloading the white stuff all over Boulder Valley. I’m taking it personally.
If you’re among the ones who weren’t expecting it to snow already, you likely have a long list of prep to go through to get yourself ready for winter (which will probably end up feeling more like spring, but I digress). Additionally, if you’re like me and want to make sure you’re being green and saving green even while the colors are changing, I’ve got several great energy saving and eco-friendly autumn preparation tips for you.
Compost Your Leaves
If you haven’t already started composting, fall is the perfect to get things started. All those fallen leaves make for a perfect starter pile. If the mere mention of a “starter pile” grosses you out, then consider getting one of the Soilsaver Compost bins that Boulder County offers. They’ll keep everything all nice and neat for you. Plus, Boulder County offers composting workshops if you’re feeling a little unsure of exactly what to do.
Get a Smart Thermostat
I think every last one of us has heard someone in our family say, “Just put on a sweater,” as a response to a plea to turn up the heat in the house. While that killjoy was right, we live in 2017 and there are much better ways to optimize your home’s heating and cooling than just leaving it at “cold.”
According to the EPA, for every degree you turn down the thermostat, you save 4% of your monthly utility expenses, but that can leave you feeling uncomfortable on cold evenings. Enter the smart thermostat. These bad boys can optimize your energy usage and determine when to turn up the heat and turn it off depending on occupancy and time of day. Plus, you can control them with your smartphone, so you can opt out of a late afternoon thermostat hike if you feel like it.
If you don’t feel like going the smart home route, set your thermostat at 68; it’s the optimal temperature for this time of year.
Let the Sun Shine in
To balance out that smart home, let’s go full analog. We here in Colorado are blessed with the best of both worlds: crisp autumn breezes and beautiful sunshine. Take advantage of the latter by leaving your curtains wide open during the day. Let the sun bake your house and give your thermostat a break if you aren’t already.
Set Your Water Heater at 120 Degrees
This is such a simple thing to do, yet I bet most people don’t know about it (I sure didn’t)! Most water heaters are set to heat water to 140 degrees. While we could never take a shower that hot, it’s used for dishes and washing machines. However, all of those tasks are just as effective at 120 degrees and for every 10 degrees you lower your water heater, you can save three to six percent on your energy bill. Plus, it puts less strain on your water heater, which can prolong its overall life.
Optimize Your Furnace and Vents
Repeat after me, “Your furnace is your friend.” Good job.
Now take care of that appliance like it’s a friend! Get it cleaned and inspected every year and make sure it’s running at optimal levels. Then, ensure you’re getting the best possible output from your furnace by making sure none of the heat vents in your home are blocked. I know, we all think we have all the vents open, but invariably, someone makes a design choice that leads to a blocked vent and a cold room. Go through each room and ensure all the vents are properly open and exposed to make sure your furnace is working at its most efficient.