The breeze is crisp, the leaves are changing and Starbucks gift card sales are through the roof. Fall is definitely upon us. As the need for air conditioning to keep your home cool slowly lessens, homeowners are presented with the perfect opportunity to help the environment (and themselves) by lowering their energy consumption. Before winter rears its frosty head, you can prepare your home for cold-weather energy savings that won’t sacrifice on comfort.

Don’t let your heater’s hard work go to waste. There are several aspects of an inefficient home that let conditioned air escape into the outdoors and cause your heater to run overtime. Let’s start on the outside and work our way in. What kind of shape is your home siding in? Old, inefficient home siding isn’t doing you any favors. It kills curb appeal and, assuming your insulation is in the same shape, creates a thermal bridge between the inside of your home and out. All things being equal, energy will flow from a high temperature to a lower one. This means all of that wonderfully warm air can escape to the wintry outdoors via this path of least resistance. Repairing and replacing old siding with energy-efficient home siding is a great way to save energy and improve your home’s value.

Do you have to abandon your favorite window seat in the winter for fear of frostbite? Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but if you notice a significant temperature difference around your windows, it may be time to consider an upgrade. First, what condition are you windows in? If any are cracked, warped or poorly sealed, you’re practically throwing energy away. If they’re in good condition, but still contribute to colder interior temperatures, you can take a few steps. If you have the budget for it, you may want to look into energy-efficient replacement windows for your home. Older windows won’t have insulating properties, like the Low-E UV-Filtering glass, insulating argon gas and warm edge spacer systems, that the newer models do.

If you’re on a tighter budget, purchase insulating curtains to dress your windows in. Covering your windows with a high-quality curtain will help to block the transfer of heat through your window panes. During the day, the curtains can be pulled to allow heat from the sun to warm your home - allowing you to set your thermostat to a lower, more efficient temperature. At night, pull the curtains closed to insulate your older windows.

With these common sources of energy loss taken care of, you can expect not only a more comfortable home, but a more efficient one as well. Contact your local siding, insulation and window experts for more information on how you can make your home more efficient.

(Shelley Davenport is a copywriter for Window World TX, a window and siding company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. Window World TX is the official window company of the San Antonio Spurs.)

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