Energy efficiency expert Lynn Chamberlin offers her advice on how to save money and energy in nearly every room of your home.
Windows & Doors
There are a several ways to check windows and doors for air leakage. First, look for light coming through. This works well with the edges of doors. Second, look for cobwebs. Spiders tend to set up webs in doors and windows where air can pass.
Another option is to use either a smoke stick, incense or a candle. When the smoke or flame doesn't rise properly, it's likely due to a small draft. This method works well around outlets and light switches as well.
Seal the gaps in your windows and doors with weather stripping, which comes in a variety of forms and price ranges. Choose the thickest weather stripping you can, while still maintaining the ability to close the window or door firmly.
Stop air loss through your outlets by simply installing outlet insulators underneath the wall plate.
One of the leakiest places in a home is along what's called the rim joist. This is the space above the concrete wall around the inside perimeter. When it's light outside, simply turn off all the interior lights and look for holes. Seal them with an insulation board or fill the gaps with caulk.
A furnace or air conditioner will be more efficient if it's maintained properly. Remember to replace your filter regularly and replace the filter cover. When you have a clean filter, your furnace doesn't have to run as hard and when your filter cover is installed properly, your furnace doesn't have to try to pull outside air through.
When it comes to thermostats, automation is the way to go and the easiest way to save money. But if an automatic thermostat isn't in the budget, make a habit of adjusting the temperature a couple of degrees each time you leave, then returning it to a comfortable temperature when you return home.
If the outside of your water heater feels warm to the touch, consider adding an insulation blanket to the outside of your tank. Additionally, consider adding insulation to your water pipes. If you can insulate all the way from the water tank to your faucets, you won't have to wait as long for hot water.
One of the easiest ways to save energy and money around the house is to reduce your wattage in lighting. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs.
And we all know kids aren't the best at remembering to turn out the lights when they leave a room. By installing light sensor switches in commonly used rooms, you can set how long the lights stay on after someone exits.