7 Fall Fix-Ups to Lower Electric Bills

One glance at the thermometer makes the thought of cooler days a tough sell.

But autumn does officially arrive on Sept. 22, meaning cold weather – and the expense of keeping your home warm – will be here soon.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), most homeowners can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on heating costs by finding and fixing energy-wasting trouble spots around the house. Below, Walton EMC’s energy experts offer their top fall maintenance tips for decreasing your home’s energy consumption and lowering electric bills.

1. Replace or clean filters. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that keeping your filter clean can reduce your energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. Inspect your air filter every 30 days to see if it is dirty and clogged. Clean or replace at recommended intervals.

2. Clear it. Blocking the flow of warm air causes your system to run longer cycles. Make sure no carpeting, furniture or draperies are blocking your return and supply vents and registers.

3. Schedule maintenance. Don't wait until something is wrong with your heating system to call for maintenance. Getting a tune-up in early fall is the best way to avoid being left in the cold and paying for a sudden, emergency repair.

4. Upgrade the thermostat. If you're still using a manual thermostat, consider upgrading to a programmable or smart one to save an estimated 8 to 10 percent on heating costs. The key feature of both a programmable and smart thermostat is that you can program your home’s heating and cooling systems to turn down automatically when you’re asleep or away.

5. Seal air leaks. Thoroughly sealing the thermal envelope of your home can cut 10 percent from your energy bill. Keep drafts at bay by filling cracks with caulk or spray insulation. Replace worn or insufficient weather stripping around doors and windows.

6. Inspect ductwork. In a typical house, about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Seal leaks on all the ducts you can access in the attic, crawlspaces, basement and garage.

7. Increase attic insulation. Eighty percent of a home’s heat gain and heat loss is through the attic, so be sure you have adequate insulation there. The DOE estimates that a well-insulated attic can shave 10 to 50 percent off your heating bill.