Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We're back with 24 Tips for fall ...

Happy first day of autumn ... and welcome back to Reduce Footprints. We have a new look which I hope you like ... and the Change The World Wednesday challenges have a page all to themselves (the tab is at the top of the page). We've also removed a lot of stuff from the sidebar to clean things up a bit. The blog roll is being re-built so, if you'd like to have your blog listed, please drop me an email with your link (email address is in sidebar).

We also have some new followers ... I'd to welcome them and encourage everyone to drop me a line if there are things you'd like to talk about here on Reduce Footprints. To all my "regulars", I'd like to say "thanks" for sticking with us ... it's good to see you all!

Okay ... I thought we'd start off with some tips and ideas for fall. This list has been growing over the last couple of years ... the ideas are tried and true. Here they are:

  1. Check the air pressure in your tires. Cooler temperatures lower tire pressure and that, in turn, lowers fuel efficiency. So check your tires and make sure that they are properly inflated.

  2. If you have a garage, park the car in it. As the weather gets colder, using a garage will alleviate the need to warm up the car before driving ... and will save fuel.

  3. 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? Check here or call a furnace maintenance company. If you have a gas furnace, have it professionally inspected once a year.

  4. 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.

  5. Remove window air conditioners for the winter. If they can't be removed, seal them with caulking or tape and cover them with an airtight, insulated jacket.

  6. Vacuum the refrigerator coils to keep the compressor running efficiently. It's also a good time to check that the refrigerator is level ... the door should automatically swing shut instead of staying open. Check the seal on the door ... try closing it on a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, it's time to replace the gaskets. Here's another tip for running the refrigerator efficiently ... don't over fill it. Allowing room for cool air to circulate will keep everything at the right temperature.

  7. Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer. And don't forget, clean the filter after every use and every once in awhile, give it a good wash.

  8. Check windows for proper caulking. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss.

  9. 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.

  10. Check your roof for any missing or damaged tiles or shingles.

  11. Clean the roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house. Now would also be a good time to install a rain barrel ... rather than allow water to drain into one spot, a rain barrel would allow you to direct the water to where it's most needed.

  12. Electrical outlets, especially on outside walls, and light fixtures are prime places for cold air to leak into your home. Add foam gaskets behind covers and switch plates, and use safety plugs in unused outlets. Be sure to shut off the power at the fuse box or circuit panel before doing this.

  13. Install foam covers over outside water spigots to prevent freezing.

  14. Check for water leaks both inside and outside.

  15. Wrap the water heater in an insulating blanket.

  16. If you have a ceiling fan, reverse the direction ... the fan should be run in a clockwise direction (stand under the fan and if you feel a breeze, reverse the direction so that air is being drawn upwards). This pushes the air up against the ceiling and down the walls, to gently re-circulate the warm air without creating a cooling "wind chill effect."

  17. Do you have a fireplace? This is a good time to have the chimney cleaned and get vent systems checked.

  18. If your home has no sidewall insulation, place heavy furniture like bookshelves, armoires and sofas along exterior walls, and use decorative quilts as wall hangings. This will help block cold air.

  19. Bring in any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors. They'll help clean the air. Hint ... for about a week, bring them in at night and then put them out during the day. This will ensure that they aren't "shocked".

  20. Do a little outdoor landscaping. Trees and bushes, planted in the fall, have ample time to develop strong, deep root systems before the heat of the next summer. This increases their chances of surviving and typically means less watering during hot months. For a discussion on fall gardening, click HERE.

  21. As the autumn leaves begin to fall, consider raking them up rather than using a "blower" (it's great exercise). Once raked up, use them as mulch to protect plants throughout the winter or add them to a compost pile.

  22. Speaking of exercise, as the weather gets cooler, there's a tendency to drive kids to school or the bus stop. To save that fuel, bundle up and walk your kids to school ... you'll all be healthier and so with the earth.

  23. Even though fresh, local produce isn't as abundant during this season, there are still many options available. Visit local farms or farmer's markets and find out what's available and then, eat locally and in season. Visit Sustainable Table to learn which crops are growing in your area.

  24. 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.

What are your favorite green living ideas for fall?

Next Wednesday we'll begin our weekly challenges so be sure to stay tuned for that.

As always ... I would love you hear from you!

Thanks, everyone!


  1. Welcome back!
    How are you doing my sweet friend!
    I've missed you!

    I'll come back soon...

    Big hugs!

    B xx

  2. yay! you're back!

    all great tips, although i would disagree with the rain barrel suggestion, because just 1/2" of rain fills up most barrels so the overflow will be pouring it out soon enough, and because you don't need the water for anything during the winter. if you have a cistern or larger system, YES it's a great time as you can take advantage of the winter water for spring, but just a 50 lb barrel, i would advise against. this is actually the time of year that i empty my barrel out. re-start gathering water in the spring so you have it ready (and fresh) for planting :)

    my little tip for fall? remember to start keeping your blinds open in the day and close at night instead of the other way around that you do in the summer.

  3. I am so happy that you are back and posting again. I look forward to the upcoming challenges.
    Welcome Back!

  4. Hey there...thx for following "4 the LUV of SaNiTy." You were just in time to get in on some goodies from my "100 follower blog party."

    You are my random pick winner today. Please go to my blog and leave a comment saying you recieved this msg and that you want to claim your prize within the next 36 hours to claim your random prize.

    BTW, I followed back :)


  5. welcome back! love the new autumnal look :)

  6. Hi !

    Thanks for the tips ! I am following you now and thanks for entering the Tropical Traditions giveaway.

  7. Yeah!!!!!! You are back!!!!!
    Every week, I visit you hoping that you have caught the big fish and have come back.

    Hope you had a great time.

    Thanks for all the hints.

    We are going into spring and summer, but I will try to remember when our fall comes.

    Your tip on driers is very true. We have one that "sprays" dust/lint outside, and I clean it after every spin because driers have been known to catch fire.

  8. Wow great heads up, also we can be stylish and green at the same time. Visit and see natrual dry bean jewelry, thats good for our earth:)

  9. Good tips - nice blog - I'm following :)

    Hugs - Cathy
    Caty Ann's Creations

  10. These are fabulous eco tips for fall! These will save the planet and save some cash at the same time.



  11. Hey thanks for the add, im sooo bad with my blog, but im trying. Im having a FALL GIVEAWAY for anyone interested just follow my you are such an inspiration:) thanks again

  12. Welcome bavk. Thanks for the tips. To number 7 can I add that I put the fluff from my dryer filter onto the compost, it always disappears.

    21. I use the mower to chop up leaves before composting, it speeds the process up and picks up the leaves.

    Off to action some of the other tips now.

  13. Woe... welcome back and love the new layout! Great tips too, you're always such a wealth of info Cyndi!

  14. Like the new do-over. Green is good!

  15. Glad to see you are back - have you thought of doing a podcast for your great content?


  17. You mentioned the plastic film for the windows. We did just that. We installed low-e window films on our old single pane window and the stuff really works. We purchased the window film in kits from SnapTint and had them installed in one afternoon. We really weren't looking for them to make a huge difference but they did. They work just like the coatings on new windows by reflecting radiant heat back into a room instead of letting it radiate straight out the window. If you have older windows like we did, you have to try this stuff. Go to
    SnapTint's website for more info.

  18. Hi'ya sweetie! Just wanted to let you know I am here on your it; being a fellow Gaia lover, it's easy to love!


  19. Welcome back SF, I love the new look. You may have been away, but you have been busy.


  20. Hi lady! Great tips. I have one that we use at our house. We keep the heat set at a lower temperature than most, so we keep soft throws on the sofa and chairs to snuggle up under.
    Also, carpooling with the other parents is a great way to save fuel and time getting your children to school.

  21. Hi there! I am a new follower. I found you on Green Follow Friday. Great Blog!!

  22. So many great ides. Just signed up to your blog. Love it.

    I have a tip. A student from UNCA came up with this one. Put bubble wrap on your windows it is a great insulator. I have an old house and old storm windows. I put the bubble wrap on all my windows last winter and my heating bill was reduced by 20%. I also did it in the summer on the windows that got the direct sun. Spray the windows first with soapy water attach the bubble wrap bubble side down, press it all over with your hands and thats it.

  23. Welcome back and tons of great tips! There are quite a few that I have forgotten about so thanks for the reminder!

    Peanuts Creations

  24. Great tips but I think you should have at least 14 gallons of water on hand in case of an emergency. This can be an in house emergency or a weather related. I have had experienced with this that is why I mentioning this.

  25. Great tips but I think you need to store at least 14 gallons of water per person for in house emergencies or weather related emergencies

  26. Thanks, Mary ~ that's a great tip. Many times storms cause water contamination so having some clean, drinkable water on hand is definitely required!