It doesn't matter if it's winter or summer. You can take steps to lower your energy costs. There are measures you can take to keep your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer and save money on your heating bill also. If you are a do it yourself person you can easily get your home weatherized on a weekend. Here are some important energy saving tips:
1. Make sure the hot and cold water pipes are insulated. There are two ways of doing this. You could wrap them with fiberglass insulation or you could use pre-formed foam pipe insulation sleeves. Simply measure the diameter and length of the pipes and purchase the size needed. These pipe insulation sleeves easily snap on to the pipes and fit securely.
2. Insulate the water heater with blanket insulation. You would be amazed at how much heat is passed through the walls of an uninsulated water heater. You can buy these blankets ready to install from your local home improvement store and installation only takes about a half hour.
3. Before you use your furnace check the filter. A dirty filter decreases the efficiency of the furnace. These are inexpensive and very simple to replace.
4. Is your ductwork insulated? If not you’re wasting a lot of energy. Measure the circumference and length of the ducts. They should be wrapped with R-9 foil faced fiberglass batts and secured with foil faced duct tape. Always remember that when working with fiberglass to wear protective clothing, goggles and a dust mask.
5. Do your walls have holes or cracks in them? You'll probably say of course not. Open the cabinets beneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks. Check for plumbing and electrical wiring coming through the wall and floor. Are there any gaps. If so they need to be sealed with caulk to prevent air infiltration.
6. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees. The water will still be plenty hot for showers and doing dishes. Simply reset the thermostat.
7. Do you have storm windows? If so, it's time to install them. If you don't have storm windows and want to save money you can install plastic sheeting to seal air leaks. It's a little time consuming but after you've sealed a couple of windows the others seem to go quickly. Another option is installing thermal shades or shutters.
8. Speaking of windows, are your doors and windows weather-stripped? A tremendous amount of heat escapes through small cracks and openings around the doors and windows. Weather-stripping can be purchased at any home improvement store. It is simple to install and is well worth the time and effort.
9. What about wall switch plates and outlets? After turning off the power source remove the plate to see if it's insulated. If not you can purchase pre-cut foam insulation gaskets that fit tightly behind the wall plate to prevent air infiltration.
10. When's the last time you checked your attic insulation. A lot of heat is lost through the ceiling. Is it up to the recommended R-Value for your area? Check with your local building department to determine how much insulation you need. If you do need insulation you can install it yourself with the assistance of a helper. Many home improvement stores will let you use a insulation blowing machine free when you purchase loose fill insulation. It can be blown over existing loose fill or fiberglass batts.
Many utility companies offer financial assistance with energy saving home improvement projects. Some even offer free products, such as water heater blankets. Also check with your state to determine if there are any tax breaks available. By following the above steps you can be assured that your home will be more energy efficient and you'll enjoy a warm and cozy winter and a cool and comfy summer.
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Jerry Holt is a writer for the website Itchy's Do It Yourself Home Insulation where you can find in depth tips and advice regarding home insulation.
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