Categories
energy saving lower heating costs Weatherizing a house

Try These Upgrades for a Drafty House to Keep Warm

A113

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 improvements and compare doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.

Categories
energy saving lower heating costs Weatherizing a house

Still Fighting a Drafty House – Home Upgrades to Keep Warm

A113

 

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 improvements and compare doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.

Categories
Weatherizing a house

Peace of Mind in Power Outage Season

Gene and Katie Hamilton
Gene and Katie Hamilton

Last week Gene and I attended a press event in Wisconsin hosted by Generac, the company who make generators that keep a home’s systems and appliances working when there’s a power outage. You only have to experience a weather event that knocks out power once to appreciate an uninterrupted power source.  When power goes out in a winter storm or hurricane, for example, the lights go out, the food in refrigerators and freezers begins to spoil, and there’s no way to charge cell phones. Your sump pump stops working and rainwater floods the basement. You can’t even access your car if it’s parked in a garage with an electric garage door opener.

Home improvement expert Danny Lipford led us on a tour of a lovely estate on the shores of Lake Geneva where Generac units power the multi-level stone home. He talked about preparing a home for damaging weather conditions like having an emergency kit and keeping gutters clean so downspouts can drain properly. For those living in coastal areas, having a shutter system to protect window glass from damage was a key message as well as being prepared before a storm before it hits.

We were escorted on a factory tour in Whitewater where their residential stand-by units powered by propane and natural gas for homes were produced. Generac also manufactures commercial units to supply power to large facilities like hospitals and telecom centers, as well as a line of portable units and power washers.

Being prepared for a power outage is always important to maintain a home, and it’s especially crucial for those living in coastal areas where the threat of heavy winds and flooding can knock out the power source for several days. Many of us on the east coast remember the havoc Hurricane Sandy caused just two years ago.  Hopefully it won’t be needed often, but a generator can give homeowners confidence and peace of mind when a storm threatens their home.

Visit us at www.diyornot.com and m.diyornot.com for smartphones to find the cost of hundreds of home improvement jobs and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor. While you’re there sign up for our newsletter and subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly updates.

Categories
energy saving Weatherizing a house

Quick Fix for Saving Energy Dollars

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 and www.m.diyornot.com.