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Fall offers opportunities for energy savings

Published September 29, 2022

There’s nothing quite like fall in Minnesota. The fall colors and cooler temperatures make it perfect for enjoying the weather outside and inside our homes. When it comes to energy use, early fall and late spring are typically our lowest energy use months because we don’t have to heat or cool our homes as much – but winter is coming, and continuing increases in energy prices mean the average household is projected to pay 17% more for home heating this season. Check out our tips below to help save energy and stay comfortable this fall and upcoming winter.

  1. Adjust your thermostat to match the changing temperatures. If you need to cool your home, try to wait until it’s 78 degrees inside before turning on the air conditioning. When you need to turn the heat on, set the thermostat to 68 degrees and turn it down further when you are asleep or away. Adjust a degree at a time as necessary to balance comfort and energy savings. (If your home has an air source heat pump, it may be recommended to keep a constant temperature. Ask your HVAC professional about the optimal operation of your model.)
  2. Service your furnace, boiler, and/or heat pump now to make sure it runs efficiently as the weather starts to cool down. Check with your utility about potential rebates to save money on the annual tune-up.
  3. Regularly replace furnace filters to keep your furnace running efficiently.
  4. Close storm windows. Clean and clear windows of debris such as dirt, sand, and dust. A build-up of debris can compromise windows and lead to drafts coming through.
  5. Seal leaks. If you feel cool air around your windows, consider window film or rope caulk (like Mortite) to prevent warm air from escaping outdoors. 
  6. Consider getting an energy audit to identify opportunities to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable. This is especially helpful if your home feels drafty or your energy bills seem higher than average. Contact your utility about energy audit options and rebates for efficiency improvements.    
  7. Take advantage of the sun. On cool days, open your curtains and blinds throughout the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close blinds at night to help keep warm air inside.
  8. Cook and bake efficiently. Use lids on pots and pans to reduce cooking time. Bake multiple things at once. Use crockpots and microwaves to save energy.
  9. Use electric kettles efficiently. Consider only boiling what you need. For example, if you are making one cup of tea, boil one cup of water.
  10. Keep fridges and freezers full but not crowded. If your fridge or freezer is empty, fill milk jugs with water to fill up space, and throw out old food if your fridge or freezer is too full.
  11. Inspect and clean your fireplace. Make sure your fireplace is safe before using it. Close fireplace dampers when you are not using the fireplace to prevent heat from escaping.
  12. Turn off small appliances and electronics not in use. Common household items like coffee makers, toasters, printers, TVs, and chargers continue to draw power even if they are not actively used. Plug TVs and game consoles into a power strip and turn the power strip off. Home office areas are also great candidates for this.

If you’re wondering if your energy bills are more than they should be or if there are opportunities to make them lower, sign up for a consultation at one of our free energy bill clinics, or call us at 651-300-4701 ext. 2 to set up a bill consultation and get connected to resources.

Author: Hannah Hoeger

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