Button Up Your Home- get ready for winter
As the seasons begin to change your family migrates indoors for the winter, a lot of energy can be wasted to keep your family and your home comfortable. Between 40 and 70% of all home energy is wasted, but we could save about half of that by buying efficient appliances and taking energy-saving measures.
And here are some inexpensive solutions to consider:
- Cover your air conditioner: If you can’t remove your window unit, consider covering it both inside and out. Besides protecting your air-conditioning unit, these covers also help keep cold air from entering your home through the space around the air-conditioner and can be a great way to lower utility bills.
- Caulk it: Small spaces and gaps around windows and pipes and wires entering the home create create energy wasting drafts that can cut the efficiency of your heating system. Most caulking products cost under $10; rope caulk, one of the easiest types to apply, sells for about $4 for 40 or 50 feet.
- Block drafts: Draft blockers are foam plates that fit behind light switches and electrical outlets to reduce drafts that enter through those spaces. You can get a packet of 10 for about $3 and they’re easy to install with just a screwdriver.
- Install heat reflectors: These are thin sheets that fit behind radiators, to reflect heat away from the wall and into the room, thereby maximizing each radiator’s energy efficiency.
- Upgrade your thermostat: Changing your thermostat to a programmable one allows you to control the temperature in your home at different times of the day without you being home. Keep the heat off when you’re out of the house and set it to turn back up before you get home. Some also have a second set of settings for weekends, when people usually spend more time at home. The thermostats range from $90 to $175, but can save 12% or more on your energy bill and pay for itself within three years.
- Reflective Window Film: Place these thin, plastic sheets directly on the inside of window panes and glass doors. The film reflects inside heat back into your home, reducing the amount that is conducted outside through windows. The film costs about $10 a window and is easy to put on – it adheres to the window directly, or with the help of water from a spray bottle.
- Storm Window Kits: It can be expensive to have storm windows installed throughout your house, but there is a less-expensive way to weatherproof home windows. Storm window kits consist of plastic film or sheets to cover the window. Attaching the plastic is done with tape or tacks. Prices range from about $3 to $10 per window.
- Weatherstripping: Create a tight seal around all your windows to reduce heated and cooled air from escaping outside. Weatherstrips are plastic, foam, felt or rubber strips that fit around window and door frames with a self-adhesive backing. Prices vary, but average about $5 per window or door.