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Proper Green: Saving Energy in the Finicky Fall Weather

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When Autumn causes the mercury to rise and fall unexpectedly, you can adjust your comfort level without adjusting your home’s thermostat.

Dear Proper Green,

This time of year, the way the weather changes every hour makes it impossible to be comfortable without turning the heat and AC on and off all day long. Is this bad?

-Mary L., MD

Dear Mary,

It’s annoying, that’s for sure, but it’s not bad to adjust your thermostat to your preferences as they change throughout the day. Turning the system on and off, or adjusting it frequently, takes less energy than running it at a constant temperature 24/7 — unless each time you turn it on or off, you’re running it at very high or very low temperatures.

It’s easy to suggest a programmable thermostat to save the most money, energy, and time, but the way Fall weather changes unexpectedly might mean programming isn’t the best answer this time of year. Instead, it might help to focus on ways to regulate how the weather can affect your home’s temperature. Here are a few ideas to leave the thermostat untouched, saving energy and staying comfortable as much as possible:
  • Keep blinds open during the day, especially on south-facing windows; the sun will warm rooms. Close blinds and shades at night to keep the cold out.
  • Use a fan — when a Fall day is at its warmest, a fan still might be enough to cool you down.
  • Drink smart. A warm drink when it’s cooler and a cool drink when it’s hotter will help you feel more comfortable.
  • Invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier. Moister air tends to feel warmer, so adjusting to your preference can reduce the need to use AC (or heat).
  • Dress in layers. This advice isn’t just good for travel! The more you can keep warm or cool by clothing alone, the less you’ll have to rely on the thermostat to keep up with the small changes in temperature.

How do you adjust to the finicky Fall weather? Tell us how you stay comfortable in the comments below!

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Proper Green
Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and... more

  • richard g. 2 years ago
    s in summer [ weird but it works ]!we put on more clothes in winter and les
  • Laura G. 2 years ago
    We keep our thermostat at 80 in the summer, 70 in the winter in the daytime and 66 in the winter at night, using a programmable thermostat. When we go on vacation for several days we turn off the A/C or heat, if the weather isn't too extreme or turn the A/C warmer or the heat cooler, so less energy it used. We use our thermal shades to keep sun out on hot days and let it in on cool days.
  • michele k. 3 years ago
    simply put on socks
  • Michael Z. 3 years ago
    Funtastic tips. THANKS
  • james and Ella Mae j. 3 years ago
    Dress in layers.
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