It is easy to get excited while watching home makeover programs on HGTV or the DIY Network. The renovations undertaken are usually high on visual-impact and any challenges are resolved in less than a half-hour or hour. However, there are a number of improvements that can have big impact on energy bills and that get very little fanfare or airtime. As we head into fall and winter, here are five projects that won’t break the bank and can provide notable results with the power company:
- Insulation – We might think about insulation in our attics and crawl spaces, but did you know that other areas that experience heat loss are around recessed lights and power outlets? It is important to consult with a professional install the correct type of insultation for the type of lighting you have (as otherwise this could pose a serious fire risk). The same goes for insulating outlets or other areas in which the framing and insulation is disrupted.
- Weather-Stripping, Caulk, or Insulating Foam – Gaps around windows and doors are another spot where additional insulation can make a big difference. Sometimes one can remove the trim around the door or window to see the insulation situation where the drywall meets the frame. Additionally, drafts can come under doors, so it is important to replace the weather-stripping underneath when this becomes rigid or has failed.
- Tuck-In Your Water Heater – For standing electric water heaters, consider installing a water heater insulation blanket. According to the Department of Energy, insulating the water heater can reduce heat loss by 25-45%, which could pay for the insulation blanket in about a year.
- Seal Ductwork – Your ductwork likely travels through an uninsulated part of your home such as through the attic or under the floor in a crawlspace. These ducts should be insulated with special attention paid to the joints. Additionally, rodents can disrupt insulation so it is important to have your insulation examined every few years if you live in an area with pests and reinstall insulation as needed.
- Furnace and Heat Pump Servicing – Inefficiencies in a home’s heating and cooling system can cause energy loss. Annual servicing including cleaning can make this system run more efficiently, even if it is an older unit. Making sure the filters are replaced on a regular basis is also key to efficient heating and cooling.
This 2023 you might even qualify for a federal tax credit! Look up “Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit IRS” in your browser to learn more. You may even qualify for a credit towards a home energy audit. The auditor will evaluate your home with thermal imaging and perhaps a blower to identify spots where the home leaks. These provides a very clear picture as to where you should focus your energy efficient improvement dollars. Need a referral? Just ask!