Small End-of-Summer Projects That Make a Huge Difference
(Photo credit: Pixabay)
Once again, summer has come and gone. Mornings continue to become colder and colder, and children are returning to school once more. Your home is now much quieter during the day, so perhaps you’ve considered setting a timer on your thermostat to save a couple dollars on your utilities bill. This is only one of the ways we adjust to the changing of the seasons. As homeowners, each season comes with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities to save. If something as easy as changing the setting on a thermostat can save you money, imagine what other things we can do as we prepare for fall.
Closing Out the Summer
As far as seasons go, summer can be the most taxing on your home. The increased temperatures will push your home appliances and your HVAC system to the limit to keep everything running cool while the heat swelters outdoors. As temperatures drop in fall, the stress on your home falls as well. Adjusting your thermostat in the fall is one way to cut into some of the cost you endured to keep the AC running this summer. Your home has been working hard to keep you and your family cool, so you might also want to return the favor and give it a tune up. Replacing air filters is small project you can complete in less than 30 minutes that will keep your HVAC system purring happily well into the cold months ahead.
Speaking of keeping cool, when was the last time you checked if your fridge is running to its full potential? Your refrigerator worked hard this summer to keep your food and drinks nice and cold when you needed it the most. That hard work will show over time, especially in your refrigerator’s condenser coils. These coils are what keeps your fridge running cool, but they are prone to get dusty and dirty over time. A thorough clean will do wonders for your fridge, keep it running strong, and possibly prevent costly future expenses.
You probably noticed that summer usually puts a higher demand on your weekly laundry. Between hiking trips, pool days, and simply having more people at home during the day, families will move through clothes quickly and need to have them cleaned more frequently. This brings us to our next often-overlooked maintenance chore: cleaning dryer vents. Vents help keep heat moving through your dryer and dispel the excess heat safely outside of your home. Over time, the vents will accumulate lint, and this may lead to clogging. A clogged dryer vent can reduce the effectiveness of your drying machine, and even worse, could lead to a house fire. After summer’s heightened demand, it’s a good idea to make sure your dryer vents are clean. Besides, when was the last time you cleaned that vent?
Preparing for Winter
When the weather is nice and the temperatures comfortable, it might be hard to force yourself to think about fall and winter. Just like summer, winter is another season that will test your home and provide a whole new series of problems to solve. Taking the time to prepare now, when the weather outside is pleasant, will save you a lot of headache in the months to come, not to mention the money you will save!
Your first goal will be to make sure your home is impenetrable to the extreme weather to come.
Check all doors and windows to make sure they are properly sealed to prevent heat from escaping your home. You might even consider purchasing a vinyl door sweep to help keep the warm air in and the cold air out. A sealed-tight home will keep your heating costs down and save you plenty this winter season. An additional small step you can take is to switch the setting on your ceiling fan to reverse mode, or in a clockwise rotation. Doing this will draw cooler air up and force warmer air back down to avoid a chilling effect, keeping you warmer without needing to generate additional heat and costs!
Beyond keeping warm, there are many other projects you can begin now to prepare your household for winter. Your gutters are probably collecting leaves as we speak, and if you haven’t done regular upkeep on them, they are probably carrying more than their fair share of dirt and leaves. Grab a ladder and clean them out now to prevent them from becoming overburdened once the weather turns wintery. Another step you can take to prevent a potential winter disaster is to insulate your water pipes to stop them from freezing. Also, it’s always good to check and replace batteries for your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.
Your home works hard to keep you and your family safe and comfortable through each season, year after year. You’d be surprised at how giving back to your home can really stretch its value and longevity, even when doing something as simple as flipping a switch.