These days, many of us are feeling winter’s chill a little more than we would like! Even if you aren’t ready to make big changes like buying new windows, there are lots of smaller weatherization steps you can take to make your home warmer this winter while saving on your energy and heating bills.
We have compiled a list of Do-It-Yourself projects that are inexpensive to complete. Some of the materials you will need are available at our retail store, EcoBuilding Bargains. For a collection of step-by-step instructions to help you complete these projects, check out our DIY Winter Weatherization board on Pinterest. This post also includes links to some useful instruction pages from Pinterest to get you started.
Here are some projects you can do right now to make your home warmer and stop wasting heat:
Keeping warm air in and cold air out can be as easy as using a tube of caulking to seal around the edges of doors and windows. Here is a guide to checking and air sealing windows. Another cheap way to reduce draftiness is to use weather-stripping around the edges of windows, which costs as little as $5 per roll! This Old House has a tutorial here.
If you have single pane windows, installing storm windows can make a big difference. Whatever type of windows you have, it’s always helpful to attach a layer of plastic film insulation to the windows using a hairdryer. Here are some helpful instructions to install clear shrink film that won’t obstruct your view.
Insulate attic entrances:
Stop cold air from flooding into your home by using sheets of rigid foam insulation to line the back of doors leading to your attic and basement. EcoBuilding Bargains currently carries recycled rigid foam insulation at a discounted price. Here’s an example of one DIYer’s home insulation project.
As your pipes transport hot water through your house, a lot of the heat escapes into the room unless they are insulated. To keep your pipes from losing heat, encase them in inexpensive rubber or polyethylene foam tubes. This blog will show you how! By placing tubing around the pipes and sealing the seams with duct tape, you could double or even triple the cool-down time of your pipes.
Install a programmable thermostat:
Your house doesn’t need to be warm when you’re away or asleep. By setting the thermostat to a lower temperature when it’s not needed, even by only a few degrees, you will save significantly on heating costs. This Old House Magazine points out that for every degree you lower your thermostat for an 8-hour period, you cut energy use by about 1 percent. So if you set it back 10 degrees overnight, that’s 10 percent savings right there!
Reduce draftiness from windows:
As mentioned above, weather-stripping windows’ edges will reduce draftiness. It’s also helpful to open your blinds during the day to let in the free heat from the sun, and close them at night to keep the heat in. According to the Department of Energy, draperies can both decrease the discomfort associated with drafty windows and reduce heat loss by as much as 25%. If there are gaps between your door and the floor, a great way to fill in the space is to stuff a sock with dry rice, or buy a decorative draft blocker as pictured below!
Another great way to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to schedule a home energy assessment, available at no cost to homeowners through Mass Save. To schedule call 1-866-527-7283. An energy specialist will evaluate how your home could be more efficient while installing free LED lightbulbs and other instant savings measures. They will also inform you which Mass Save incentives you may qualify for, such as the ability to save up to $2,000 on home energy upgrades such as insulation and air sealing. From DIY home improvements to a home energy audit, there are lots of great low-cost ways to stay warm and reduce your bills this winter. For more information and tips, visit our website: www.cetonline.org.