Are you looking for ways to reduce your utility bills? Some people choose to track energy rates to find the lowest costs. If you want to go beyond saving money, you can make alterations to your property to reduce the amount of energy necessary. You can make your home more environmentally friendly without needing to hire a professional. These DIY project ideas can help you save energy.
Caulking and Weather-Stripping
Air leaks lead to significant energy loss when heating and cooling. Caulking and weather-stripping your home can eliminate troublesome cracks and crevices. Most air leaks come through openings in floors, walls, and ceilings. You can check for drafts inside your house using a piece of tissue paper on a clothes hanger. Use this device to check around your electrical switches and outlets, windows, doors, chimney, and plumbing. Look for any cracks in the foundation, and inspect for openings around utility lines. A flashlight is helpful for identifying leaks near entrances. You can stand outside and shine the beam all around the edge of the door. If a helper inside the house can see light coming through, you have an air leak. Make a note of the location so you can seal it later.
Installing Storm Windows
Storm windows can provide another solution to air leaks. Low-emissivity (Low-E) types can be extremely efficient. Low-e windows reflect heat back into your home due to a thin coating of metal on their surface. In this way, your family enjoys better insulation, and you can save up to 33% on heating and cooling. Before installing storm windows, make sure the existing windows are as airtight as possible. You can accomplish this by using caulk around the top and sides. This step will help avoid condensation between the two layers of glass.
Insulating Your Hot Water Heater and Pipes
If your water tank is new, it probably retains heat well. However, older models may not have enough insulation. Check the R-value listed on the tank. It should be 24 or higher. If it isn’t, your water heater may be warm to the touch and could benefit from additional insulation. You could reduce losses by up to 45% by providing adequate insulation, saving as much as 16% on your water heating costs. How can you insulate your tank? There are pre-cut blankets or jackets available for purchase. Install them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Insulating hot water pipes bring similar benefits. You lose less heat, but in this case, you also create a positive chain reaction. When you insulate your pipes, the water typically arrives at its destination two to four degrees Fahrenheit hotter than previously. Because of this, you’ll probably be able to lower the temperature setting on your water heater, saving money. There are multiple materials you can use to insulate hot water pipes. Some of the most common are neoprene and polyethylene sleeves. Professionals typically choose black acrylic tape to hold them in place, but tie wire and zip ties also work. Make sure the pipe sleeves fit tightly. The seams should face downward. Secure the insulation material about once every foot.
Planting Trees and Shrubs
Plants can provide shade to avoid excessive heat in the house. They also release water vapor, which helps cool the air around your home. Temperatures under trees can be up to 25ºF cooler than above nearby asphalt. If you live in a colder region, it might not make sense to plant trees for shade and cooling. However, homeowners in hot locations can benefit from this strategy. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter, so they’re ideal for blocking the sun during summer but taking advantage of it in cooler months. Evergreens can provide shade year-round or block persistent winds.
In a Nutshell
There are many energy-saving projects you can do yourself. Reducing air leaks, installing storm windows, and insulating hot water tanks and pipes can make an enormous difference. Trees and other greenery around your house can also help control the effects of the sun and wind. Doing all these things can enable you to save energy year-round.
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