With the joys of homeownership come the expenses of heating and cooling. Though energy costs continue rising there are various steps owners carry out to keep these expenses from going through the roof. Some of the most popular, cheapest, and effective methods involve caulking around doors and windows, using insulated drapes and wearing warm clothing. Whether families are on a tight budget or not, these five high tech tips for winterizing a home save hundreds of dollars in the end.
Online analysis tools, similar to the one found at www.hes.lbl.gov, allow homeowners to plug in values for current electrical and heating costs, and compare these against the savings realized by installing various upgrades. The site also contains many articles on available energy saving tax credits, appliances, and tips on green improvements.
Some hire professional contractors who perform energy audits. Using an FLIR camera or other device, the contractor checks every nook and cranny for drafts and leaks around the home. However, professional audits run around $300. Residents may easily save the money and make the process a do-it-yourself project. A quick and easy audit involves the use of a candle or incense stick. After closing all doors and windows, move the candle or incense around various areas. The candle flame flickers or the incense smoke wafts away in the presence of the leak. Areas homeowners must pay special attention to include:
- Attic entrances
- Electrical outlets and switch plates
- Pipes and wiring entering the house
- Wall/window mounted air conditioners
- Window/door frames
- Weather stripping
Check for gaps around door and window frames on the outside the home, between foundations and the home, and areas where pipes and wiring exit the house.
Forever in Blue Jeans (couldn't help myself!)
UltraTouch is a sustainable company that designs eco-friendly products and uses slight amounts of energy during the manufacturing process. One of the newest and most innovative products the company sells consists of blue jean insulation made from recycled jeans. UltraTouch combines natural cotton denim fibers with a borate solution. Containing less toxicity than table salt, the borate gives the material fire retardant properties besides being mold and pest resistant. Any scraps or manufacturing trim become recycled into more raw materials, reducing waste.
The product improves acoustic performance by 30 to 50% and unlike traditional fiberglass insulation; blue jean insulation needs no safety clothing or equipment for installation. Made in various sizes, the product sells in certain home improvement stores. UltraTouch also ships products directly to homes across the country.
Increased Performance Sealing
Contracting experts believe any crack or gap large enough to slide a nickel into needs sealing. There are many caulks and sealants on the market. However, Energy Saver DAP is the most recommended product. DAP makes Energy Saver using 45% recycled material. The Sustainable Foresting Initiative certifies all shipping cases. Usable in gaps up to ½ inch thick, Energy Saver consists of a low-VOC formula containing many properties including:
- Adhesion joint movement
- Cleans up with soap and water
- Mold and mildew resistant
- Resists cracking or shrinking
- Waterproof and weatherproof
Homeowners save 1% in energy costs for lowering a thermostat one degree for heating or raising a thermostat one degree for cooling. Programmable thermostats provide energy savings as homeowners enter schedules lasting up to seven days. Use variable temperatures throughout the day for sleeping, waking, or when the home is vacant. Most have touch screen capabilities and some are equipped with remote controls. Many models also have override.
Need New Windows?
Low-E Glass is the latest energy saving window technology available. Manufacturers coat the glass with a thin layer of silver, tin or zinc, which adds insulating value. Though on the outside the glass has a metallic sheen, indoors the window is transparent. The metal acts as a reflective shield keeping indoor warmth in the home and warm sunrays away from the home. Low-E Glass is either hard coat or soft coat.
The manufacturer applies molten tin to molten glass during the hard coat process. The soft coat involves vacuum-sealing tin or zinc onto the glass. When using silver for glass coating, manufacturers seal the metal between two plates of glass with argon gas, which prevents oxidation. Soft coat glass has a higher R rating than hard coat, and silver sealed panes contain the highest rating overall.
Jessica Bosari is an Internet copywriter and blogger for various publications and her own blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!