Categories
Saving Energy

Plan Ahead – Button Up and Save Energy

September is a good time to think about saving energy and the first step to making a dent in your heating bill is to button up areas of the house that let heated air out like the seal around doors and windows. Filling the gaps around the movable joints on the inside of doors and windows with weatherstripping will stop air penetration and lower heating costs.

If you walk around the outside of your house inspecting the joint around doors and windows you may find gaps where cold air seeps inside. Use a good quality 100% silicone caulk to fill the gaps and you’ll plug the leaks from getting inside, another way to button up your house.

There’s a mind-numbing array of sealing materials to choose from at hardware stores and home centers. Choose those that are designed for doors and windows and its ease of installation.

To find the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor go to www.diyornot.com.

Categories
energy saving lower heating costs Saving Energy

Staying Warm with Heat Upgrades

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

According to the U. S. Department of Energy, the typical family spends almost $1,300 a year on their home’s utility bill. You can lower your energy bill by 10% to 50% with simple and inexpensive improvements that button up your house to keep cold air out and warm air inside.

First, try these no cost improvements. Rearrange furniture so it doesn’t cover the cold air returns in the floor so heated air can flow freely. In sunny side rooms open draperies and raise shades to let Mother Nature heat the space and close them at night. Use a heavy window shade or drapery to keep cold air out in north-facing rooms. And when you’re not using a fireplace, close the damper. Feel cold air coming from electrical outlets or receptacles on exterior walls? Remove the plate covers and insert an inexpensive foam switch and wallplate sealer that cuts down the draft.

Inspect the condition of weatherstripping and replace material if it’s old and worn. Look at exterior doors, windows, on a door or access panel to an unheated attic, crawl space or attached garage.

Look at the thresholds of all exterior doors. The gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold should be tightly sealed with a gasket in the threshold or on the bottom of the door. If you can see light or feel a draft replace the gasket.

At the first sign of cold weather install storm windows or replace screens with storm panels in combination storm doors and windows.

To seal a drafty old window try this quick-fix. Get an inexpensive interior storm window kit, which has enough plastic sheeting and double-faced tape to cover the average size window. Apply the tape around the window, press the plastic film in place and use a hair dryer to shrink the film for a clear, tight fit.

If the loose fill insulation in your attic isn’t 12 inches deep add rolls of poly-wrapped fiberglass insulation. Cut the rolls to size with a heavy scissors and lay the pieces on top of the existing insulation.

Use a foam sealant to fill the gaps and cracks around joints in the siding, electrical outlets and water spigots on the exterior of you house. And replace old caulk around window frames with a cartridge of good quality caulk.

The Alliance to Save Energy says you can expect to save about 3 percent on your winter heating bill for each degree you lower your thermostat. Install a programmable thermostat and set it to automatically lower the heat at night and when no one is home and raise it in the morning or before the family returns home.

Have an annual tune up by a heating professional for an oil fired unit and at least every other year for a gas fired unit. Remember to clean or replace air filters in a forced air system once a month so it runs efficiently. And if you plan to replace windows, a furnace, heat pump or appliances look for the Energy Star label on the product to assure you it meets energy efficiency standards.

Visit us at www.diyornot.com to find the cost of hundreds of improvement projects and compare doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.

Categories
energy saving lower heating costs Saving Energy

Simple Ways to Lower Your Utility Bill

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

It’s still warm in some parts of the country, but it’s not too early to start thinking about keeping your heating costs to the minimum.  Adding a programmable thermostat, insulating your attic, weatherproofing your home are all surefire ways to cut heating costs. But there are other things you can do about the way you live in your house – that don’t cost anything – that will reduce the energy needed to heat your home. Here’s a few of them.

Keep draperies and window covering open on the sunny side of the house to take advantage of the solar power coming in your windows when the sun is shining its strongest.

Don’t put furniture on top of or obstructing the heating duct in your walls or floors because it prevents the flow of heated air within the room.

Close the doors and heating ducts in unused or seldom-used room because it makes no sense to heat a room that no one uses.

Once a month replace the filter in your heating system so it can work efficiently. A dirty filter blocks the air flow which makes the unit work harder to heat your home.

Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. Before bed and leaving for work roll back the temperature so you’re not heating an empty house.

Wear sweaters instead of raising the thermostat.

To compare the cost of home improvement projects visit us at www.diyornot.com and www.m.diyornot.com where you’ll find the DIY and Contractor costs for hundreds of jobs.

Categories
energy saving lower heating costs Saving Energy

Simple Ways to Lower Your Utility Bill

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

It’s still warm in some parts of the country, but it’s not too early to start thinking about keeping your heating costs to the minimum.  Adding a programmable thermostat, insulating your attic, weatherproofing your home are all surefire ways to cut heating costs. But there are other things you can do about the way you live in your house – that don’t cost anything – that will reduce the energy needed to heat your home. Here’s a few of them.

Keep draperies and window covering open on the sunny side of the house to take advantage of the solar power coming in your windows when the sun is shining its strongest.

Don’t put furniture on top of or obstructing the heating duct in your walls or floors because it prevents the flow of heated air within the room.

Close the doors and heating ducts in unused or seldom-used room because it makes no sense to heat a room that no one uses.

Once a month replace the filter in your heating system so it can work efficiently. A dirty filter blocks the air flow which makes the unit work harder to heat your home.

Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. Before bed and leaving for work roll back the temperature so you’re not heating an empty house.

Wear sweaters instead of raising the thermostat.

To compare the cost of home improvement projects visit us at www.diyornot.com and www.m.diyornot.com where you’ll find the DIY and Contractor costs for hundreds of jobs.

Categories
Saving Energy

Set Back Your Thermostat and Save

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

Winter weather seems to bring out the nesting instinct in me. We’re content to build a fire at night and stay home and watch the furling wind and sometimes snow outside the window. One of the best improvements we’ve made to just about every house we’ve lived in is replacing the old round dial room thermometer with a setback or programmable unit. Over the years the ability to program the device to give us heat when and only when we want it has saved us money. and not squandered heat when we’re not there to enjoy it. Since $1,300 is the cost of the average household utility bill saving on heating and cooling costs is significant and a programmable thermostat makes it easy.
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At www.diyornot.com we analyze the cost of hundreds of home repair, decorating and improvement projects such as replacing an old thermostat with a new programmable unit. A heating contractor will charge $144, but a DIYer can do it for $100, the cost of the unit. That’s assuming you have electrical tools and experience and it’s a direct swap so no new wiring is needed. Here’s a link to what’s involved:Install a Programmable Thermostat. Whoever does the work, it’s a good way to let you lower the heat in your home when no one’s there and raise the temperature when everyone’s home to enjoy it.