Save Energy With Easy Home-Improvement Projects

By Abby Berry

man caulking window

Winter weather can have a big impact on your energy bills. Now that spring is just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to tackle a few do-it-yourself efficiency projects for your home.

Here are three simple projects that can help you save.

Make the Most of Your Water Heater

Insulating a water heater that’s warm to the touch can save 7 to 16 percent annually on your water heating bills. Newer water heaters come insulated, but if yours is warm to the touch, it needs additional insulation.

You can buy a pre-cut jacket or blanket for about $20. You’ll need two people for this project.

Before you start, turn off the water heater. Wrap the blanket around the water heater and tape it to temporarily keep it in place. If necessary, use a marker to note the areas where the controls are so you can cut them out. Once the blanket is positioned correctly, tape

it permanently in place, then turn the water heater back on. If you have an electric water heater, keep it set below 130 degrees to avoid overheating.

Weatherstrip Exterior Doors

One of the best ways to seal air leaks is to weatherstrip exterior doors, which can keep out drafts and help you control energy costs. Weatherstripping materials vary. Ask your local hardware or home store for assistance if you’re unsure about the supplies you need.

When choosing weatherstripping materials, make sure they can withstand temperature changes, friction and general wear and tear. Keep in mind, you will need separate materials for the door sweep at the bottom of the door and the top and sides.

Before applying the new weatherstripping, clean the moulding with water and soap, then let the area dry completely. Measure each side of the door, then cut the weatherstripping to fit each section. Make sure the weatherstripping fits

snugly against both surfaces so it compresses when the door is closed.

Seal Air Leaks With Caulk

Air leaks can increase your heating and cooling costs substantially. Sealing leaks by applying caulk around windows, doors, electrical wiring and plumbing can save energy and money. There are many types of caulking compounds available, but the most popular choice is silicone. Silicone caulk is waterproof and flexible, so it won’t shrink or crack.

Before applying new caulk, remove old caulk or paint with a putty knife, screw-driver, brush or solvent. The area should be dry before you apply the new caulk.

Apply the caulk in one continuous stream, and make sure it sticks to both sides of the crack or seam. Afterwards, use a putty knife to smooth out the caulk, then wipe the surface with a dry cloth.

By completing these simple projects, you can save energy and money while increasing the comfort level of your home.