Would your feet look like the above picture if you took off your socks and shoes in your house? Are you cold, unable to stay warm, and tired of giving away your money to the utility companies? Sometimes, you think the utility company should be considered a charity. You donate large sums to them so often. People would call this the Energy Bill Blues.
Not a pretty tune.
Just to recap, I have given your several tips in both my posts, “Look to Your Attic To Lower Your Energy Bills” and “Is Your Living Area too Leaky?” I know. Winterizing you house is really sexy. Are you biting at the bit for more tips?
So, here are the next 8, starting with lucky number 7! Let’s stop air infiltration. After I am done, arm yourself with your handy caulk gun and go to work so that you can be snug as a bug in your warm house.
Seventh Tip-Drafty Windows
Oh, those drafty windows! Consider replacing your windows with Energy Star rated qualified windows.What is an energy efficient window? Check out Energy Star’s article, “Anatomy of an Energy Efficient Window.”
“New ENERGY STAR qualified windows can help reduce your energy bill up to 15 percent. Estimated savings vary from region to region depending on current heating and cooling costs and are generally greatest where there are hot summers, cold winters or both.
In addition, ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors, and skylights do more than just lower energy bills-they deliver more comfort, create less condensation, and protect your valuables from sun damage better than conventional clear-glass double-paned alternatives.”1
If replacing your windows is not in your budget, then consider having glass or acrylic storm windows made, caulk around the windows, and install window treatments especially made to insulate your windows.
Contact the following companies who make eco-friendly window coverings: Earthshade (their truegreen hemp insuliner made of a blend of cotton and hemp), Veridrape, Symphony Shades, EcoSmart Insulating shades, Window Quilts, and Green Sage’s lined drapes. You can also use quilts as window treatments as well.
Update 01/25/2012: If you are ready to remodel, check out my article about triple pane windows and storm windows.
Eighth Tip-Insulate Crawl Spaces
Always insulate a crawl space. The proper way to insulate it depends on whether it is ventilated or not. Read the article by US Department of Energy, entitled “Crawl Space Insulation,” to learn how to insulate the different types of crawlspaces.
Ninth Tip-Insulate Your Basement Rim Joist
“A common area of air leakage in the basement is along the top of the basement wall where cement or block comes in contact with the wood frame. These leaks can easily be fixed in portions of the basement that are unfinished. Since the top of the wall is above ground, outside air can be drawn in through cracks and gaps where the house framing sits on top of the foundation. This perimeter framing is called the rim (or band) joist. In the basement, the above floor joists end at the rim joist creating multiple cavities along the length of the wall, and many opportunities for leakage.”2
Family Handyman has a terrific article showing you where to seal your basement rim joist. In addition, it has pictures to identify many leaks in your house.
Tenth Tip-Lock you doors and windows
I asked Ed Schwartz, founder of Green Living Solutions, a northern NJ home energy consulting company, what is the most overlooked winterizing remediation in your house. He replied, “locking your windows. Although people may think this is for security reasons, locking your windows actually creates a seal to prevent air infiltration.” Take Ed’s advice and go check all of your windows to make sure they are locked properly.
Eleventh Tip-Leaky Dryer Vents and Exhaust Vents
Last month I wrote about “Is Your Dryer Vent Giving You a Cold?” Those flimsy dryer and exhaust vents do absolutely nothing to prevent air infiltration into your laundry rooms and bathrooms. I have installed the Heartland Natural Energy Savings Dryer Vent Closure System DRY21000™ as my dryer vent. My laundry room has been warmer since I installed this device.
I still need to install more efficient dampers on my exhaust vents. Those metal vents just flap away in the wind. Both CET and Batticdoor sell the clothes dryer vent seal and Batticdoor sell exhaust vents.
Twelfth Tip-Soffits in Second Floors
Sometimes recessed lights on the second floor are enclosed in soffits. Take a look at your bathroom and see if your lights are in a “box.” Many times, soffits are overlooked and are hollow. Replace the cans with air tight cans and insulate the soffit.
Thirteenth Tip-Insulating Cantilevers
Your house may have a second floor overhang. Ever wonder why the floor is so cold in that part of the house? The overhang needs to be insulated.
Fourteenth Tip- Landscaping for Energy Efficiency not Just Beauty
“Landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to keep your home cool in summer and reduce your energy bills. In addition to adding aesthetic value and environmental quality to your home, a well-placed tree, shrub, or vine can deliver effective shade, act as a windbreak, and reduce overall energy bills.” 3
You can save up to 25% of typical household energy used for cooling by carefully positioned trees on your property. Consult with a landscape architect as to positioning your landscaping to provide you with the maximum energy reduction.
Fifteen Tip-Insulate the Water Heater
Insulating your hot water pipes and installing a jacket around your hot water heater are not tips to make your house less drafty. However, they will reduce your energy bills. See the article, entitled, “Insulate Your Water Heater Tank for Energy Savings.”
If you are not a DIYer and would rather contact a home energy rater such as Green Living Solutions, to help you ascertain where you need to plug holes in your house, Energy Star provides a list of home energy raters by state. Check first if your local utility company provides this service for free or at a discounted fee.
“More than Just a Dollar,” Energy Star
“Locating Air Leaks,” Energy Star
“Landscaping,” US Department of Energy