Tops September Green Tips: Fall Preparation

Fall is around the corner (or here for some) and that means temperature will start to decrease. As this happens keeping your home comfortable will require different measures. We have put together a few tips to stay comfortable while keeping your resource consumption low.

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  1. Clean and test the furnace. Did you know that your furnace needs cleaning? Yep … it collects all kinds of dust and debris which not only affects it’s performance but could cause a fire. Before you really need the heat, get out your owner’s manual for instructions on how to clean it. No manual? Use the internet to search for your specific model number. If you have a gas furnace, have it professionally inspected once a year. Move furniture or any obstructions from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor or radiators so that air moves freely. This is also a good time to vacuum these areas to remove any dust or debris. And here’s a tip if you have a radiator … place a reflecting panel behind it … you can purchase one at a home center or make one yourself with a plywood panel and aluminum foil.
  2. Check windows for proper caulking. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss.  Check doors for weather stripping and replace as necessary. If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, replace the threshold or block the drafts with a rolled-up towel or blanket.
  3. Wrap the water heater in an insulating blanket.
  4. As the autumn leaves begin to fall, consider raking them up rather than using a “blower”. Once raked up, use them as mulch to protect plants throughout the winter or add them to a compost pile.
  5. Before packing away those summer clothes, go through them and determine which items to keep, which items to repurpose into something else (cleaning rags, craft projects, etc.) and which to donate.
  6. Use non-toxic pest control methods. As the temperature cools, insects and rodents look for a warm place to bunker down. Instead of using toxic chemicals, that gets into your soil and water supply try some non-toxic methods. Flies hate the smell of basil. To discourage them, place pots of basil at doorways and windowsills and on the kitchen counter. Spiders are not fond of citrus. In a spray bottle, mix water and unsweetened lemon or lime juice. Wipe your countertops with the mixture or spray down doorways and windowsills. Use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to wipe down countertops and other surfaces—anywhere you’ve spotted ants. For best results, repeat this several times a day. Doing so destroys the scent trails that ants use to navigate.


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