Energy Saving Tips
Tips for keeping your home energy efficient:
- Install insulating gaskets in electrical outlets or switches on outside walls. Kits are available at hardware and home improvement stores.
- Place aluminum foil reflectors behind radiators to reflect heat back into the room.
- Dust or vacuum ducts, registers, radiators and refrigerator coils regularly and bleed air from hot water radiators periodically. In addition to plastic storm windows, use insulated or heavy curtains, especially on windows facing north.
- Make storm windows out of sheets of plastic. For maximum effectiveness, use a thickness of at least 6-mil. Stretch the plastic as tightly as possible to minimize air movement between the plastic and window glass.
- Caulk around windows, outside doors, baseboards, exhaust fans, dryer vents, places where pipes and wires enter the house and where the walls meet the foundation. Doing this may seem insignificant, but a crack just one-sixteenth of an inch wide around the circumference of an average-sized window lets about as much heated air escape as a three-inch square hole in the wall. Also, in places where your old caulk has deteriorated, re-caulk to make an air-tight seal.
- Install air deflectors to your floor heating vents.
- Weatherstrip doors and windows, even the doors of rooms you’re not using, as well as closet doors. Felt strips with adhesive backing or plastic V-strips with adhesive backing are available at home improvement stores.
- Put up thermal shades or shutters. They close very tightly and are one of the most effective ways to stop heat loss through windows.
- Weatherstrip any of your interior doors that lead to such places as the garage, basement or attic. For added efficiency, insulate them on the cold side with fiberglass batts.
- Insulate the pipe leading from your water heater.
- Insulate ducts and hot water pipes that pass through unheated areas like the garage, basement and attic. Use duct wrap insulation or batts and duct tape. Start with one or two and do others as you can.
- Add insulation whenever possible, perhaps just a little bit at a time. Improving attic insulation can save 10% to 50% of your heating and cooling costs.
- Stuff batt insulation or add foam sealant into any gaps where pipes and ducts enter the living space from unheated portions of your home. Note: CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) found in some foam insulation can harm the ozone layer. Look for CFC-free insulation products.
- Install a flow restrictor on your shower. This device can cut the cost of taking a hot shower in half. It generally costs less than a dollar, is easily inserted into the shower head and cuts the flow of water virtually in half.
- Ever hear of the milk carton test? Open an empty, half-gallon cardboard milk carton and hold it up to the shower while it’s fully on. If it fills in less than ten seconds, your shower could use an energy-efficient showerhead. You’ll get the same pressure with a smaller volume of water and save energy too.