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[27 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 28 views]

The holidays are over, and hopefully they have been good to you. Chances are you received some new gadgets, maybe bought a new one or two, or are planning on improvements with your tax refund.
Now is the time to take stock of your energy usage in your home. Yes, today is time for another energy audit.
Once you have everything settled in place, take a few hours to walk through, measure energy usage, and make some estimations as to how much you will use it. Most people’s energy bills spike after …

Do It Yourself Projects, Home Energy Tips »

[20 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 146 views]

There’s an argument to be made for cleaning your heat registers…actually, there’s several.
First, there’s the energy argument. In theory, especially in forced air systems, air flow is reduced as heat or air registers become clogged and otherwise dirty. Anything that reduces airflow has the potential for jacking up your energy bills because the furnace (or a/c for that matter) has to work harder to attain the desired room temperature.
And for non forced air heating systems (radiant heating for example), if the heating apparatus is dirty, the furnace (or heat source) …

Do It Yourself Projects, Home Energy Tips »

[16 Jan 2009 | 2 Comments | 651 views]

I was a little surprised by this one, and you might be too.
Try this: Go to a light switch on a wall opposite the outdoors. A hallway would be a good example. Take your hand, and feel if there is cold air blowing through.
Feel anything?
Now try removing the faceplate.
I couldn’t believe the amount of cold air blowing through even on a calm (but cold) day! On a windy days its very noticeable.
Fortunately the fix is simple and relatively inexpensive. Once again, at your local …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[16 Jan 2009 | 2 Comments | 2,601 views]

Cost: $8 and up
Estimated Effort: 10 minutes
Approximate Savings: 10% or more
If your furnace is located in an unheated area like an unfinished basement, you might already have guessed that a lot of heat can potentially be lost in the ducts themselves. Between the furnace itself and the vents, even with no holes in the ducts, some estimate that as much as 15 – 30% of the heat from your furnace can be lost when it travels through an unheated area like a basement.
That’s a lot of heat loss!
If …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[16 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 265 views]

Cost: $60 – $200
Estimated Effort: 30 minutes
Approximate Savings: 10% – 15% or more
Installing a “smart” thermostat is not hard at all, and typically takes less than 30 minutes to accomplish, even for novice users.
When buying your new thermostat, just remember – you get what you pay for. If you want more features, like the ability to program based on day, you will pay more. Likewise if you want an Energy Star model. My advice to get one that’s within your budget with features you need right now, but go …

Do It Yourself Projects »

[16 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 1,078 views]

The easy answer to a drafty or old window that no longer insulates well is to “cover it in plastic.” And that still is probably the best possible answer for most situations.
Most situations?
Yup. I said most situations for a reason. Here’s why. You need to know how the window is losing your home’s energy to effectively make the right repair choice.
For example, putting plastic over a window when its the outer frame that loses energy will do next to nothing except obscure your view of the outdoors.
Okay, so how can …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[16 Jan 2009 | 2 Comments | 12,017 views]

The most common complaint in the cold winter months about older doors is they are drafty, or don’t insulate well anymore.  In fact, a door is usually one of the first places you tend to notice energy issues. The reason is because it is opened and closed and used so often. Add to this the fact that they are heavy and held up by only a few screws and hinges around a frame, and the potential for problems increases with age.
What can go wrong?
Even newer doors can have energy gaffes. …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[15 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 776 views]

One of the most challenging problems for homeowners is with the placement of a heat register, radiator or other heat source under or near a window. The problem is compounded with every degree the temperature plummets outside.
Understanding the problem
To figure out how to fix the problems, we have to understand what is going on. Warmed air always rises (and conversely cold air falls). Since warmed air will always rise from the heat source it will gravitate upwards. Under most circumstances, when a heat register is on a wall, the warmed …

Do It Yourself Projects »

[14 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 227 views]

An energy audit is the single best way for you to realistically save money every month on all your energy bills. Energy efficiency experts and contractors and energy companies have known this for a long time. That is why they offer them, often at a premium price or bundled with another service or installation.
But the truth is an energy audit isn’t all that difficult. In fact, you can do a basic, rudimentary energy audit yourself right now. It only takes an hour or so, tops, to do a simple top …

Do It Yourself Projects, Heating »

[9 Jan 2009 | No Comment | 4,766 views]

This one puzzles the heck out of me.
We’ve talked about how a lot of heat escapes through the windows. Heat vents blow heat into a room. Why then, would anyone place a heat vent directly under a window?
Argh!
A lot of heat will be wasted, and the room will always feel colder than it should.
Luckily, there is a very easy solution.
Go to your local home improvement store (like a Lowe’s or Home Depot) and get a clear heat deflector. They run $5 – $15. These have little magnets on …