Simple Energy-Saving Projects You Can Do Yourself

Looking to save money and improve the comfort of your home?

Energy-Saving Projects You Can Do Yourself

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Looking to save money and improve the comfort of your home? There are a number of energy-saving projects you can do yourself. With a little time and effort, you can realize big savings on your energy bills.

Start simple

Where do you begin your personal quest for lower energy bills? How about changing a light bulb? ENERGY STAR®-certified LEDs use at least 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last much longer.

Next, install WaterSense-labeled low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. These typically cost less than $20 to purchase and they can stop the drain on water and energy costs.

Energy-saving projects

Looking to take on a little more? Here are some easy, low-cost projects you can tackle yourself.

Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable unit saves energy by automatically adjusting temperatures while you are asleep or when you are away from home. Newer "smart" models provide advanced features, such as remote control and self-programming.

  1. Select a location away from vents, windows or other sources of drafts.
  2. Follow manufacturer's instructions regarding proper installation.
  3. Typically, thermostats only require low voltage wiring. Remember to shut off power before beginning work.

If the job requires more than just a simple replacement, consider contacting a qualified professional.

Weatherize doors and windows

Gaps and cracks in exterior doors and windows waste energy and reduce comfort. Sealing them can significantly improve heating and cooling system efficiency.

  1. Look where the window frames meet the side of the house and check for gaps.
  2. Make sure the area is clean and dry. If there is any existing caulk, scrape it out.
  3. Spread the caulk evenly along the base of the crack and run a damp finger along the bead to smooth it out.
  4. For doors, remove any existing weatherstripping and make sure area is clean and dry.
  5. Cut the new weatherstripping and door sweep (if needed) to fit and press it into place for an even fit.

Air seal your attic

Leaks in unfinished attics can waste energy, even when adequate insulation is installed.

  1. Locate all ceiling fans, recessed lighting fixtures and electrical outlets in the ceiling below your attic. Each of these is a potential source of air leakage.
  2. From the attic, pull back the insulation to find the cutouts and seal them with caulk or expandable foam.
  3. Check for and seal gaps around plumbing vents, furnace flues and ductwork.
  4. Seal the attic access with weatherstripping.

Seal and insulate ducts

Furnace ducts can waste a substantial amount of energy. Sealing and insulating ducts can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20% or more, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

  1. Use mastic tape to seal ductwork joints in unheated spaces, such as your attic, crawlspace or garage.
  2. Wrap the ducts in insulation to increase their energy efficiency.
  3. Seal and insulate any ducts you can access in the conditioned part of your house.

For bigger energy projects, such as adding insulation or installing a new heating system, contact a qualified professional.

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