You want to be the energy-saving envy of your neighbors, but installing solar panels and hooking them up to the backup generator is too much work for most of us. It doesn’t have to be that complicated! Here are six sneaky, simple little things to check before you bring out the big guns to one-up the neighbors on your energy efficiency.
- Check for Cracks – Even a hairpin leak in window caulk means air you spent money to heat is seeping out into the cold. Check your foundation and the wood and caulking around all windows and doors for leaks, holes, and cracks. Any you find should be simple to seal yourself with a little bit of caulk from a hardware store. If you find cracks in the foundation, call in a professional to take care of it immediately; this problem threatens the structural integrity of your home, never mind your energy bill (though it will wreak havoc on that as well).
- Keep It In – Is your insulation all that it should be? If it’s showing signs of aging, your utilities bill has recently climbed, or if your house is more than ten years old, it probably needs to be replaced. You can do this yourself by going online and determining the appropriate R-value for insulation in your home (all you need is your zip code!) and then buying and installing insulation with that R-value in your home (just be sure to completely cover yourself while working, as microscopic fiberglass that sheds off of insulation does NOT react well with human skin). You may also want to consider having spray foam insulation installed—hey, DIY is not for everyone.
- Windows AND Doors – You’ve probably heard of the importance of having energy-efficient windows installed in your home, but did you know that doors come in energy-efficient varieties too? Double panes in doors with glass cutouts, higher-quality materials in the core of the door, and doors that fit more snugly against their frame all make for a more energy efficient home—how are your windows and doors? Ottawa installation professionals can ensure the portals to your home measure up and save you money in the long run.
- Doth Mother Know You Weareth Her Drapes? – Window treatments are more than just a style statement—they can have a major effect on how much light and heat gets into your home during the day. If you live in a particularly hot climate, it is especially important that you find window treatments that reflect light and heat for summer months, such as reflective films, awnings, or blinds. Curtains and drapes are better for those in winter climates who want a little extra help keeping in the heat.
- Clean the Tubes – Even energy-efficient furnaces can’t do their money-saving job when your air filters are black and your air ducts are so clogged they only have half their normal airflow. These conditions can actually lead to duct fires if left unattended, but in the meantime, they’ll slow your furnace down. If you suspect this may be the case in your home, arrange to have the ducts checked and cleaned (or check them yourselves if you have easy access) and change the filters. Seriously, it isn’t that hard.
- Check and Clean Water Outlets – If your faucets, taps, and showerheads have hard water or other buildup, those deposits may be obstructing water flow and making your water outlets work twice as hard to give you the water flow you want. You can get rid of the buildup by dissolving 1/3 c of baking soda in 1c of white vinegar, then placing the mixture in a large plastic baggie and tying it to your showerhead so the whole head is submerged. Leave it submerged overnight, and the deposits should dissolve into the mixture—and voila! Your fixtures should be as good as new. However, if your faucets and such fixtures are over ten years old, you may want to consider replacing them with more energy efficient faucets and showerheads.
See to these things, and you can save more than the Joneses with relative ease!
Lucy Markham is an avid blogger and researches with companies such as Comfort King. As a recent homeowner, Lucy considers herself a bit of an expert on all things home improvement, gardening, and home decoration.