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October Energy Tips: DIY Energy Saving Projects

Fall is a great time to work on some simple DIY projects to make your home more energy efficient and save you money.

This month, review a couple of projects to boost efficiency once you turn on your home's heating system.

You are welcome to contact me with questions, or to make a topic suggestion. Please email me at lhensley@central.coop.

 

DIY Energy Saving Projects

Project 1: Caulking

Caulking is a good way to block many of the air leaks that let outside temperatures lessen the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems.

Looking for air leaks is best accomplished on a breezy day. Check around outlets and look for gaps near the dryer vent, ducting, chimneys, and faucet pipes. Seal gaps with caulking, weather-stripping, or spray foam for large cracks.

There many types of caulk on the market for use on different surfaces and in various weather conditions. For instance, if using caulk on siding, windows, or doors, appropriate types include polymer, silicon/polymer, paintable silicone, and butyl rubber. Be sure to properly prepare the area to be caulked by cleaning it. Remove dirt, old caulk, and other particles to ensure lasting results.

Project 2: Weather-Strip Doors

Check exterior doors and those leading to basements, garages, and attic spaces for air leaks.

If you can see light or feel air around a door, it is time to take action.

Older doors, especially wood doors, have a tendency to allow for air leaks. Replacement door gaskets and door sweeps are available at home improvement stores, as well as weather-stripping that can be added to any door type. For very drafty interior doors you may also consider adding a plush draft stop like the one pictured.

Project 3: Replace Your Thermostat

Install a programmable or smart thermostat to gain control of your home's HVAC equipment.

A programmable thermostat works by changing the temperature depending on your work and sleep schedules. When done correctly, your house will be at a comfortable temperature when you return home or wake up. Adjust the thermostat when you will be away from home for several hours or while sleeping.

The best results come from picking a temperature for when you are home and for when you are away. Adjustments should be 5 to 8 degrees. If you change the thermostat too drastically, your home’s heating/cooling system will have to work longer to return your home to a comfortable temperature, potentially increasing energy costs.

If your home has a heat pump system, you should set your thermostat to run at a constant temperature in the winter in order for your heat pump to perform at its best. You can still make use of a programmable thermostat’s settings in the summer months and some programmable thermostats are specifically designed to work with heat pump systems.

If you want to have control of the thermostat from anywhere, look into smart thermostats, which are connected to your home's WiFi network. An app on your smart phone can allow you access to your home's heating and cooling system at any time, from anywhere. (May require the assistance of an electrician.)

 

 

 

 

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