With Fall quickly approaching, it is time to start getting your house ready for the cooler temperatures. Truth be told, these improvements would help your house whether it’s hot or cold outside, so what are you waiting for? These tips will help you save energy, and cash, this winter.

1. Sealing Stuff Yep, try walking around the outside of your house and looking for areas where air could seep in. You’ll want to leave the weep holes open, but areas around the roof, windows, and faucets are fair game. You can use caulk for the small gaps, and foam spray for bigger stuff. I used some foam to fill gaps around my exterior faucets a few months ago – and that stuff really does expand!! You can easily add more if you need it, but you can’t easily take it away, so keep that in mind for appearance’s sake.

2. Air Flow Prevention I’m talking about adding felt strips to the bottom of your windows, and checking around the inside of them for gaps. Do whatever you can to make sure that your windows aren’t allowing any unwanted airflow. When your home is sealed up tight, then it’s easier to keep the temperature where you want it. It also helps to control the humidity level (which will affect how hot or cold it feels, plus inhibit mold growth).

3. Change Your Air Filter I’m surprised by how many people do not know when the last time they changed their AC air filter. I try to change my about every 300hrs of operation (which my thermostat keeps track of – more on that later). During extreme hot or cold, that tends to be about a month. The rest of the year, it could be three months. If you can’t remember go get a new one just to be sure. I had a renter who was having AC problems and the repair man said it was because they hadn’t changed the filter. Don’t let that happen to you.

Don’t get one of those cheap fiberglass filters either. Get a good allergy reducing filter (MERV 10-12) to help with your indoor air quality – especially if you are a fellow allergy sufferer. These filters are pleated, and are made by several companies. You can get a good one for 10-15 bucks for an average size filter (that’s what mine costs anyway). They allow maximum airflow and still filter very effectively. The better the airflow, the more efficient your AC or heater will be.

4. Upgrade Your Thermostat Got an old dial style thermostat? Chances are that it no longer accurately reads the air temperature. Those springs that they use wear out over time. A new digital thermostat can be had for around 20bucks if you shop smartly. They will allow you to let the temperature in your home be a little cooler when your sleeping (in other words the heater works less). This will save you some cash each night. You can even program them to allow the house to be cooler on days or times when no one is in it. This will help keep your bills down, which means you are using less energy.

5. Water Heater Blanket These things aren’t expensive, and can be found at any home improvement store. My Lowes had them in an odd location, so you may have to ask someone about them. Don’t worry if they give you a blank stare – just ask one of the older guys, they’ll know. These aren’t really blankets, but are insulation wrappers for your water heater. It will add another layer of insulation between your precious hot water and the elements. My hot water heater is in an un-heated garage, so the temperature gets down to 30 degrees at times in there. Cold nights like that make your water heater work all night long to keep water warm for that morning shower. You use a blanket to keep warm at night, give one to your water heater too! You will recoup the money during the first winter if you are like me.

I give you this short list of Fall Home Improvements as a way of helping you care for God’s creation. If we take the “created-ness” of creation seriously, then we should want to care for it as God’s beautiful work. These projects will help you save energy, thereby reducing emissions, and your impact on God’s beautiful creation.

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