Oh the Energy Bills! With the recent heat wave, and the arrival of the Edison bill, it got me thinking about all the energy saving moves I’ve made that are starting to really pay-off. And by pay-off, I mean big savings last month. And for this family on a pretty strict budget, that was welcome news. So I thought it appropriate to do an Energy Savers series with tips and tricks that result in real-world pocket book savings.
Most of the items on the list are not new — you can find them in a number of sites and articles. I thought I’d share with you what I’ve done and how it is working out. Some of this would make for some boring pictures, so I’ll break the posts up into a few to help make it easier to read.
Caulking — when we moved in, we went around and repaired or replaced the caulking on the outside windows and door frames. This was great, but I still kept feeling a draft in certain areas and then I remembered to caulk around the inside of the windows. So, I purchased clear caulk and went around the window trim; top, sides and bottom (under the sill). I also went along the thresholds of the doors (you know, the part you step on when coming through the door). No more drafts – or at least significantly reduced. Drafts make the room (s) feel colder which might lead you to turn up the heat. And, although you don’t feel it, you also lose the cooling effect of the air conditioning in the summer. I think the average cost of good caulking at the local diy center is in the $5-$7 dollar range.
Insulation (basement): Admittedly, this is a larger project, but also one that can be done little by little when using the roll kind. I think that a roll of insulation is in the $30 range, depending on what you get. Honestly, most of my insulation came free – I mentioned to friends and family that this was a project and was amazed at the “donations” of left over insulation from their own projects, not to mention some left over from my previous home. If you have a basement, there is a space between the top of the wall and the floor above. (If you are like me, you have to remove the ceiling tiles to see it). It is usually between each joist (I think I got that term right.) This space is a pretty big energy waster and should be filled in with insulation. It really doesn’t take that long to do and you don’t have to be “perfect” with your cuts, as you can always stuff a little more in to close the gaps. This is also something that doesn’t have to be done all at once – I did mine over a few weekends as I had extra time to spare, but really could have done in inside of a day. I didn’t get this completed until this spring – but I do notice a difference in my energy bill and the temperature of the floor above by the walls.
Duct Work Tape (sorry don’t know what else it is called). This is a special, silver colored tape that you put over the seams in your duct work and outside of the furnace. Basically, anywhere you see a seam. Kinda like taping a tear in a piece of paper. This tape is designed for the heat of the system – you can’t just use any ‘ol tape. Good news is that it easy to use and isn’t expensive. I may have used a whole role and it cost me in the $10 range. What it does is stop air leaks at the seams. This makes your heating/cooling system more efficient, as air is directed to your rooms instead of lost in the basement ceiling. Doing this has proven twice now (old home and new one) to be a big energy saver – and the rooms have a more even heating and cooling.
I’ll add a few more tips and things I’ve done in my next post, along with some cost savings that I’ve seen.
You might also see a few more posts weekly from me – I hope that is ok. To help grow my little business and the blogging effort, I entered into a challenge to post more. If you have subject ideas that fit with my overall business and site, please feel free to suggest some.
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