front entrance to single-family home decorated for autumn

Your guide to an energy-efficient autumn

Use these fall-inspired, energy-saving tips to keep your energy use in check this season.

Fall is a time where Ontarians start to head indoors and get their homes ready for the cooler seasons. As we embrace sweater weather, pumpkin-spice season and crisper breezes, here’s a checklist to ensure you’re staying comfortable while saving energy this autumn.

Tend to your furnace

With cooler temperatures on the way, now is a good time to give your furnace some TLC. Cleaning and/or replacing your furnace’s filter will keep everything running smoothly and reduce your energy and maintenance costs. If left unattended, a malfunctioning filter can lead to dust build up and cause mold growth in the components of your heating and cooling and air duct system.

Tip: remember to book an autumn maintenance service by a licensed contractor. They'll vacuum the burners, remove and clean the blower, and clean the pilot light and flame sensor to keep your furnace running smoothly.

Go further: Buying a new furnace this fall? It might make sense to upgrade your entire HVAC system to one that is ENERGY STAR® certified. You may also want to consider an air filtration system and a humidifier to improve your home comfort. Many contractors will bundle the installations together and help you pick the most efficient system for your home. 

Considering installing a heat pump in your home?

Heat pumps are a great way to save energy and reduce GHG emissions over the long term. Find out if a heat pump is right for your home.

Avoid air leakage with weather stripping

Don’t let a drafty house be the cause of high big energy bills. Small holes and spaces in doors and windows make your furnace work harder and your home less comfortable. Applying weather stripping is an easy solution to better insulate your home and lower your energy bill. Plus, it’s a cost-effective solution you can easily do on your own.

Tip: An easy way to tell if weather stripping is needed is by placing your hand close to the window or door frame and feeling for cool air. Make sure to put your hand all around the frame. While it may be airtight on three sides, the fourth side could be letting a cool draft in.

Go further: Energy-efficient windows can help cut down on energy costs and keep your home comfortable. Learn more by reading our Window Buying Guide.

Let your thermostat call the shots

A smart home is an energy-efficient home. A smart programmable thermostat learns your habits and adjusts the temperature accordingly – so you can save money by automating lower temperatures while everyone is away at work or school.

Take some time to consider the seasonal patterns of activity in your home. For example, are there rooms that you spend more time in during the shorter, cooler days and nights? Like the kitchen or dining room. You should also consider any changes to your daily schedule starting in September – for example, kids coming home from school mid-afternoon. Or someone in your house going into the office more. Understanding your seasonal schedule this fall will help you determine what features to use on your smart thermostat, and how to use them.

Go further: In many older homes, thermostats are often located close to windows or air ducts, which can affect the reading and adjust your home’s temperature unnecessarily or incorrectly. Keep location in mind when installing your smart thermostat.

Invest in energy-efficient leaf blowers

When the leaves pile up, it’s a good reminder to replace that old gas-guzzling blower with an energy-efficient model. By using battery-operated leaf blowers, you can save money in the long run while protecting the environment. That sounds like a win-win for everyone.

Go further: When buying electric seasonal equipment, look for tools that use the same batteries so that you can easily swap them out – no matter the season!

Let the sun do the work

Give your furnace a break and let nature do the heating. In the morning, open the blinds or curtains of south-facing windows to allow the sun to warm these rooms throughout the day, free of charge. Make sure that heat remains trapped after the sun sets by closing all window coverings. Repeat and enjoy.

Don’t forget to change the direction of your ceiling fans

Does the idea of using a ceiling fan in the colder months make your head spin? Let us explain!

Nearly all ceiling fans have a switch located on the side of the fan base that lets you change the direction of the fan blades. Setting your fan to spin clockwise at a low speed in the fall and winter could save you as much as 15 per cent on your heating bills.

How? Well, science of course. Warm air (in this case caused by your furnace) naturally rises, and the gentle updraft created by this setting allows for the redistribution of air that tends to accumulate near the ceiling.

In turn, you can adjust your thermostat to a lower setting, while keeping warm and saving on your heating costs.

Go further: If you’re in the market for a new ceiling fan, look for models that are ENERGY STAR® certified. ENERGY STAR certified ceiling fans have better motor and blade designs and will use 60 per cent less energy than standard models.

Check your fireplace

Nights by the fireplace make for cozy evenings. Check your fireplace for drafts. In fact, fireplaces can be a primary source of heat loss in the autumn. If you’re going to spend a few hours near a fireplace, remember to turn the thermostat down a few degrees to save energy.

Fall is also a good time to inspect your fireplace damper to make sure that it closes tightly and opens smoothly. If you get your chimney professionally serviced, this inspection is usually included.

Looking for additional ways to save energy at home?

Save on Energy’s My Energy Action Plan can help you reach your energy-efficiency goals, with a personalized plan offering advice and tips on the many ways to manage your electricity use and save on energy costs.

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