As we enter autumn, New England is experiencing crisp air, vibrantly colored leaves, apple cider, and pumpkin spiced lattes. Whether or not your favorite fall activities involve any of the above (looking at you, PSL haters), this time of year always brings a sense of calm and coziness. So much so, that we sometimes forget these best practices for an eco-friendly autumn.
If you’re like us, don’t fret! It’s never too late to reevaluate your habits and make changes that will protect our environment!
Eco-Friendly Fall Tips
1. Clean Your Furnace
Dust and debris that collects in your furnace can not only affect its performance, it can also cause a fire. Before you need to heat your home, make sure your furnace is in good shape.
2. Bring Plants Inside
If your houseplants have been living their best life outside this summer, bring them in before the frost hits. They will they brighten up your décor while cleaning the air.
3. Check Your Tires
Cool temperatures lower tire pressure which lowers fuel efficiency. Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
4. Winterize Your Yard
Use fallen leaves to insulate garden plants or add to your compost pile. If you have no room for roughage, an NER container makes clearing out yard debris a breeze! Fall is a great time to plant spring bulbs, perennials and many tree and shrub types.
5. Remove Window Air Conditioners
If you used a window air conditioner, now is the time to remove it. If it is not removable, seal with an airtight cover and tape or caulking.
6. Hang Onto Your Harvest
Before the first frost, preserve as much of your harvest as possible by canning fruits and vegetables and drying and storing herbs.
7. Check for Heating Obstructions
Move beds and other furniture away from vents, baseboard heaters, registers, and radiators to allow free air flow.
8. Roof Repairs
Check your roof for leaks, mold, and damaged or missing tiles or shingles. While you are up there, you can clean the gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house. BONUS: This is also an ideal time to install a rain barrel and direct the water where it’s needed most.
9. Extra Insulation
Add storm windows to reduce heat loss if you have single pane windows or consider adding plastic film over windows.
10. Clean Dryer Ducts
While you should clean the dryer filter after every use, fall is a good time for a good washing and cleaning the ducts and area behind the dryer. (You might even find some missing socks!)
11. Check Your Chimney
If you have a fireplace, have your chimney and vent system cleaned and checked before gathering around the fireplace.
12. Warm Your Water
Wrap the hot water tank in an insulated blanket. You also can consider installing foam covers over outside water spigots to prevent freezing.
13. Check Your Refrigerator
Clean and vacuum refrigerator coils so that the compressor runs efficiently. Also, make sure that your refrigerator is level. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t overfill your refrigerator. Cool air needs room to circulate to keep food at the right temperature.
14. Flip Your Fan
If you have a ceiling fan, reverse the blades’ direction so that they are running clockwise. Stand underneath your fan while it’s running. If you can feel a breeze, reverse the direction so that air is drawn upwards, gently recirculating warm air through the room.
15. Snuggle Responsibly
Lots of us love the coziness and charm of candles, but many mass-produced candles are made from paraffin, which is a product of petroleum refining. Try to opt for beeswax candles, which you can often find at local farmer’s markets and craft shows. That way you’re supporting local artisans and making an environmentally responsible choice.