Quick DIY Home Improvements for Saving Energy This Winter

Energy saving home improvements don’t have to be expensive, time-consuming projects. There are several quick and easy improvements that you can do yourself. However, it is still recommended that you should schedule an appointment with a professional home energy specialist twice a year to have your heating and air conditioning system checked, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Additionally, scheduling an appointment with a professional to seal the ducts or pipes in the walls and between the floors assures no heat is lost as it travels from the furnace to the register in the room where you want the heat. Having the ducts professionally cleaned and changing the filter regularly helps your system heat or cool your home more evenly and efficiently. When you change the filter, you should check the blower compartment for dust around the corners and access panels. If dust can get in, heat can get out, but you can seal these leaks yourself with duct mastic, aluminum duct tape, or silicon caulk. All of these steps save money on heating and air conditioning costs.

Energy Saving Tips for Your Windows

To keep cold air from sneaking in and warm air from sneaking out, remove dust and debris from the bottom sash so that the window closes completely. Also remove dirt and dried paint that prevent the bottom rail of the top sash from meeting against the top rail of the bottom sash or that prevent the top sash from meeting against the top of the window frame. Finally, repair the glazing if it is cracked or missing.

You can cover your windows using plastic window wrap kits. The ones that you heat with a hairdryer thicken the plastic and increase its insulation or R value. However, don’t trustingly buy the sizes recommended for single windows, patio windows, and so on. Measure your windows yourself, allowing three or four inches of space at the top, bottom, and each side so you don’t have to get the placement exactly right when you attach the plastic to the tape. Add up the area required to cover your windows and screen doors, and then look at the length, width, and square footage of the plastic in the kits. With some creative cutting, you can buy fewer kits than the manufacturer suggests. Be sure your measurements and math are accurate, however.

A Few Other Helpful Tips

Check the weather stripping on all of your doors and windows, including the garage door, and repair or replace it if it is worn, loose, or missing.

You use blankets to stay warm in the winter, put one on your water heater to keep the heat it generates warming the water, not escaping into the air.

Set your water heater to 120 degrees, the warm setting. It both saves energy costs and saves scalds on hands.

For more information on energy saving tips, programs, and appliances, visit U.S. Department of Energy and EnergyStar.


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