Stuck at home? Make it more energy efficient!

Thoughtful man on the couch.

Many of us are spending extra time at home these days. With everyone around the house more, you may see your energy bills start to rise, as well. Why not make the most of this time by finding ways to make your home more efficient and comfortable?

Start with the simple stuff

Energy projects don’t have to be complicated. They can be as simple as changing a lightbulb. In fact, switching out traditional incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR®-certified LEDs can reduce your lighting energy use by 75%. Plus, LEDs last much longer. What could be simpler than that?

Next, you can help stop the drain on your energy and water costs by installing WaterSense®-labeled low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. They typically cost less than $20 to purchase, and they use less water than standard products while still providing a comfortable flow.

Getting more ambitious

If you’re looking to save more (and who isn’t?), here are some low-cost projects you can do yourself.

Seal windows

Gaps in windows can increase your energy bills and reduce comfort.

  1. Look where the window frame meets the side of your house. If there are gaps, you can seal them with caulk.
  2. Make sure the area is clean and dry. Scrape out any existing caulk.
  3. Choose the right type of caulk — your best bet is silicone or siliconized caulk.
  4. Cut the tip at a 45-degree angle and load it into the caulking gun.
  5. Run the tip slowly and evenly along the base of the crack. Finish by running your finger along the bead to smooth it out.

Insulate hot water pipes

Heat loss through unprotected hot water pipes can cost you. Pipe insulation is readily available at your local DIY retailer.

  1. Starting at the water heater, measure the length of insulation needed to cover accessible pipes.
  2. Cut the insulation to the lengths needed.
  3. Place the insulation on the pipe with the seam or opening facing down.
  4. Tape the insulation every foot or so to secure it to the pipe

Air seal your attic

Leaks in unfinished attics can waste energy, even when adequate insulation is installed.

  1. Locate all ceiling fans, recessed lighting fixtures and electrical outlets in the ceiling below your attic. Each of these is a potential source of air leakage.
  2. From the attic, pull back the insulation to find the cutouts and seal them with caulk or expandable foam.
  3. Check for and seal gaps around plumbing vents, furnace flues and ductwork.
  4. Seal the attic access with weatherstripping.

With a little extra time and effort, you can reduce your energy bills and increase comfort.