It's fall! Or is it?
While Tuesday may have been the first official day of fall, just over a third of Ontarians (36 per cent) agree that Sept. 22 signals the start of the season, according to a recent survey.
Conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of Direct Energy, the survey found that just under one third (30 per cent) of those interviewed instead felt that the first day of school is also the first day of fall. (A sentiment echoed by 1 in four across Canada).
The survey also found that 81 per cent of Ontarians agreed that the leaves changing colour signalled the start of the fall season. Other rituals that are a sure sign it's autumn? Turning on the furnace, 21 per cent, turning off the air conditioner, 19 per cent, and wearing warmer clothes, 43 per cent.
So is it fall? Officially yes - but I haven't seen any red leaves or turned on my furnace, so the fall boots and corduroy jacket have yet to make an appearance.
But, the "official" Sept. 22 date is a good reminder to start your fall home maintenance (see our tips). Yes, I know it's unpleasant, but wouldn't you rather do it now than be stuck freezing waiting for someone to come fix your furnace, while surveying frosted plants and trying to climb your icy ladder to clean out those frozen eavestroughs? Yeah, I thought so.
Direct Energy recommends testing your furnace now to avoid that whole freezing part of my nightmare scenario. Plus, if something is actually wrong, you'll have better luck getting service now than when the first cold snap hits.
Here are the company's tips to get your house ready for winter:
- Turn on your furnace once every 60 days when you aren't using it. Schedule a maintenance appointment before it gets cold. And clean or replace your furnace filter every two to three months to save money on your heating bill.
- Cover your air conditioner to help ensure it's ship shape come next summer.
- Consider upgrading your old furnace to a new energy efficient unit, which will help cut your bills. There's a new minimum energy performance standard for home gas furnaces rolling out on Dec. 31, requiring 90 per cent efficiency for new purchases. (The regulations don't require homeowners to switch out existing furnaces.)
- Get a home energy audit, which can identify spots to make your home more energy efficient.
- Clean your ducts, which will help your ventilation system operate better and will reduce the amount of dust in the air, improving indoor air quality.
And, if all this winter talk is getting you down, just think about hot chocolate, hot apple cider and cozy sweaters! Doesn't that feel better?