More money is wasted in homes by small things that require a little maintenance than the big things because you fix the big things that you notice and ignore the little ones.
Heating and cooling in your home can account for up to 70 percent of the energy used in your household. That is 70 percent of your bills going into heating and air-conditioning. Even adding a little insulation can add to the savings.
The first inch of insulation accounts for most of the energy savings. Added insulation increases this savings but that first inch is a must. If there are areas that have missing or no insulation this should be addressed quickly.
The first step in this can be done easily. Walk around with a flashlight and check out every area of your home. Look around at anything that could possibly lead to the outside. Doors, windows, vents, pipes and such that go from the inside wall to the outside. Now look around them and see if you can see to the outside, or feel air blowing in or out.
Around these places are one of the biggest loses of heat and AC. Even places like light switches on outside walls and outlets can have air flowing into your house or out. You can buy caulk, fiberglass insulation and great stuff spray insulation to stuff those cracks and holes. There are small foam insulations that can be added to your wall switch and outlet cover to reduce loss at the plates.
Check places outside like the vents on the roof and the pipes for the plumbing that are for venting. They can have cracks and gaps around them that let air in and out. Also check around the stairs into the attic or the panel for the attic access. Ensure that air is not moving in and out there. If it is buy some foam tape that is sticky on one side and install where the panel or stairs close to prevent air flow.
That is the whole point, stopping air from flowing in the places you don’t want it to. Along the frames of windows and doors, anywhere around a fireplace, vent, pipes, and electrical cables running into or out of the house.
Plug these gaps and holes with something. If it’s on the outside and could get rain on it, use a caulk. If it’s inside and hard to get at, you can use a foam spray like Great Stuff. For odd sizes and larger areas use pieces of fiberglass insulation and duct tape.
Outside, if you own or rent a mobile home, make sure the roof is not in need of repair. The vents and such have a black sealer that can leak water and heat from.
Also if you have a skirting that does not have insulation behind it look into buying some. A one inch foam board added behind the skirting will help keep the trailer warn and cool in the appropriate times of the year and will help prevent pipes under the trailer form freezing in the winter.
You can buy insulation board and glue it to the back of the skirting pieces. This will save greatly on heating and cooling.
On houses with vinyl siding make sure there are no gaps near the cables and such and odd places the siding had to be fitted on the house. Around windows and doors, near the entrance of the electric lines and telephone and cable TV wires.
On the doors and windows make sure the seal and rubber sweeps are in good shape. Replace them if they are worn. A seal around the door frame that contacts the door when it is closed is a must. Sweeps need to be in contact with the frame bottom when the door is closed.
The small seal along the bottom of the storm windows need to be in good shape, not cracking or splitting. When the storm window is closed it should be in contact with the bottom. And there is a seal between the two storm windows in the middle of the window that closes the air from the outer and the inner window. Make sure it is in good shape.
Once you have all the house sealed up, try looking at the two devices that heat and cool your home. The furnace and air conditioner have filters on them, clean them or replace. Open the covers on both and vacuum out accumulated dust and anything else in there.
Get rocks and leaves out from the fan unit of the air conditioner that sits outside. If the unit is outside with a cover and you need to go in and pull leaves and debris out, turn off the power to the unit to ensure it does not come on when you are poking around inside. Remove any debris, put the cover back on, and turn it back on.
A cover for the outside part of the air conditioner, the condenser and fan unit, is a good purchase to keep things out of it during the winter months when not using the AC.
Keep the furnace filter replaced every four to six months. If this becomes expensive, home improvement stores have a washable filter material that you cut to size for most furnaces.
Some other tips for energy savings, fix any leaky faucets you have. A leaky faucet that fills a coffee cup in ten minutes can be wasting 3000 gallons of water in a year. That’s a lot of water you don’t have to pay for if you just fix the leak.
Faucet repair kits are cheap at the home improvement store and it usually takes just a few tools to fix. A few minutes of your time and you’ll be saving money in no time.
Take a look at your basement, do you have a sump pump that runs a lot, does it get it’s water from your basement. Try fixing the leaky walls and floor with some waterproofing barrier cement and paint. This will stop the water before it comes into your basement.
An energy saving device that is easy to install and use is an electronic thermostat for your furnace. Even if you have an old furnace that uses one of those old round thermostats you can replace it with a new one that works more efficiently.
They can be programmed to heat and cool at certain times of the day and night, weekday and weekend. If your not home during the day all week long you can set the thermostat to use less heating and cooling at these times. Then set it for what you want an hour before you get home and it will be just right when you walk in the door.
You can purchase one at a home improvement store or Wal-Mart type store. Ask for help and have the make and model number of your furnace for help in picking out the correct kind and type.
Things as small as window blinds or drapes on windows that get a lot of sun in the day during the summer can reduce heat inside the home. Use ones that block the sun more, and you will be feeling the savings in your pocket book.
It doesn’t matter whether you own or rent your home, the savings to the energy bill will be yours. Just get permission before doing any work on a house you rent. Landlords may not want to do the work or pay for any, but you can sure do it and save money.
He will appreciate the job and it may help get more benefits in the future such as he may pay for some materials or get them for you. He will also remember things like this when it comes time to move and you want to get your deposit back.