(Family Features) Making improvements around the house to curb energy usage is not only good for the environment, it can make a big impact on your utility bills, too.
Energy-efficient appliances are a good starting point as you work to reduce your home’s overall energy usage. Depending on local tax laws, you may also qualify for tax incentives for these purchases.
There are also relatively simple DIY projects you can do around the house to improve energy conservation.
Seal water leaks. Gaps around windows, doors and other openings are major contributors to wasted energy. In the winter, they let cold air in, making your furnace work harder. Conversely, in the summer, cool air escapes and forces your air conditioner to run extra. In most cases, weather stripping or caulking can provide the necessary seal. Larger gaps may require low-expansion foam or minor drywall work. Remember to pay careful attention to the attic and basement, which can be unexpected sources of energy loss.
If replacing your door’s threshold is impractical or your threshold is not adjustable, a door bottom or sweep may effectively keep out unwanted drafts. These options install directly on the door, eliminating the need to tinker with the threshold itself or remove the door for more significant alterations.
Update insulation. Deteriorating or minimal insulation, which is found more often in older homes, can make it difficult to effectively manage your home’s temperature. While spray foam is a tempting solution that has less of an impact on your walls, it can be tricky for a novice to install correctly.
A simple and effective alternative is fiberglass batts or rolls, which can be easily cut to size and fit between studs and beams. While this approach requires sheetrock removal and re-installation, it’s also one of the lowest cost options for insulation replacement.
Regulate temperatures. Over time, thermostats can become less sensitive, leading to inaccuracies and wasted energy. Installing a programmable thermostat is a cost-effective, easy fix. Choose a model that allows you to adjust temperature settings relative to your usage, saving energy and eliminating paying for cooled or heated air when you’re not at home.
For example, on summer days when you’re not home, program your system to maintain a temperature 5-10 F higher than is comfortable when you’re present. Then set it to cool to your preferred temperature for about 30 minutes or 1 hour before arriving home.
Find more tips to net big savings in both energy efficiency and money at eLivingtoday.com.
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