Properly weatherizing your home to conserve energy leads to serious savings on utility bills without costing a lot of time or money.
Closing gaps in doors and windows, retrofitting faucets with devices to control the flow of water and embracing energy-saving habits, can result in as much as 40% in savings on energy costs.
“October is a good time to weatherize your home because most of the country is probably facing the coldest six months,” says Todd Recknagel, CEO of AM Conservation Group. “Whether you have electric or gas heat, there are significant amounts of air that escapes lots of gaps in the doors and windows.”
According to Recknagel, a free way to determine if you have air leaks is to wait for night fall, have a friend stand inside the home as you shine a flashlight from outside on your front door and windows. If your friend can see the light—you probably have gaps.
Gaps allow heat to escape and make it harder to keep your home warm. Once you identify any air leaks, purchase low-cost weather stripping kits which Recknagel says are easy to use and will provide a good seal.
Outlet covers on the outside walls of homes are also sources of many air leaks. To plug the escape, Recknagel suggests placing foam backing seals behind the plug cover to cut off the air. This fix will cost round $5 for a pack of 20.
“Depending on whether you are using gas or electric heat you can save 20% to 30% weatherizing your home,” says Recknagel.
Replace light bulbs, lighting
According to Recknagel, 20% of electricity in homes goes to lightning, and switching to compact fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs from incandescent ones can reduce your energy consumption by 80%. “It’s the equivalent of cutting anywhere from 10% to 15% off your electric bill.
It’s pretty well known that keeping appliances plugged in while not in use consumes energy, but it’s a hassle to unplug the TV or toaster every time you use it. But new smart strip electric outlets make it much easier by sensing when a device is off and cutting the power.
Slow the flow of water
Inefficient sinks, shower heads and toilets can also consume electricity and run up the water bill.
“People take water for granted. To get water to the home is expensive and takes a lot of electricity.” He details that running warm water from the kitchen sink for five minutes uses the same amount of energy as a 100 watt incandescent bulb turned on for 14 hours.
By installing flow restrictions on sink faucets and shower heads it conserves water and reduces your water bill. “Your shower head might be running at three gallons per minute and this will give you a flow of two gallons per minute,” he says. “You still get a luxurious shower and save 30% to 50% of the hot water usage.”
Fix running, leaky toilets
A constantly-running toilet isn’t only an annoyance it can drain money your wallet in wasted water and electricity. If water is leaking out of your toilet it can consume 10% to 15% of the water supply, says Recknagel, making it important to fix any leaks and any broken parts in the toilet right away.