Resolving to be more energy efficient with these DIY projects

Young homeowners decorating their house
The turn of a new year is time for self-reflection and positive, forward thinking. When compiling your list of resolutions, be sure your savings and the environment don’t get lost in the shuffle this year. In honor of National Cut Your Energy Cost Day today, try these five, simple DIY tips for a greener 2017.

Worker applies silicone caulk on the wooden floorINSULATE:

Weatherproofing windows and doors prevents heat from slipping through the cracks,
keeping your home warm and your bills low. When choosing a type of weather-stripping
or caulk, remember to consider the depth and width of respective frames. Also try window insulation film, which acts similarly to Saran wrap, sealing off cracks and stopping cold air from seeping inside.

Project level: Easy
Energy Savings: 5-10%
Time to complete: 1 hour
Cost: $5-$20 (if caulking gun is needed)

Hallway interior with folding attic ladderCOVER:

We all know that heat rises – and in many cases, it’s moving all the way up through your attic and beyond. For houses with pull-down stairs leading to the attic, building your own, insulated cover can make all the difference in a drafty room and high energy bills. Treat the attic stairs the way you would a door or other outside access, and air seal the opening.

Project level: Easy with pre-built kit; moderate DIY
Energy Savings: Dependent upon energy cost and gaps in existing stair hatch.
Time to complete: 1-4 hours
Cost: $50-$150

Home security lightingDETECT:

Installing outdoor, motion detector flood lights is another quick and easy way to save money and electricity. Depending on your situation, some homes may already be hard-wired for outdoor lighting. In that case, swap the fixtures and use LED bulbs to further cut down on costs. Remember – you must shut off your power before removing the fixture. If, at any point you don’t feel comfortable changing the hardware, contact a licensed electrician. For homes that are not wired for outdoor lighting, try a solar-powered, motion detector fixture, no wires needed.

Project level: Easy – moderate
Energy Savings: About 95 percent, per bulb, per month. Incandescent flood lights use at least 1.6 kWhs over 8 hours (about $9 a month, per bulb). LED motion censored bulbs use 14 watts and at least half the time (about 30 cents per bulb, per month).
Time to complete: Les than 1 hour
Cost: About $30 per LED bulb


man unplugged plug to save on energyUNPLUG:

Despite its name, the Phantom of the Outlet isn’t just looming around Halloween. Appliances and gadgets waste electricity just by being plugged in, even when turned off. Try connecting similar appliances to a power strip for quick and easy on/off access.

 

Project level: Easy
Energy Savings: Up to 10% of annual bill depending on devices
Time to complete: Less than 1 hour
Cost: Free!

Hand changing bulb for led.Home lamp with shining diode bulb.UPGRADE:

One of the easiest ways to cut your energy costs, replace old, incandescent bulbs with new LED bulbs. An LED light will last 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs, which means that they pay for themselves in less than a year and will provide even more savings over time.


Project level:
Easy
Energy Savings: Up to 75 percent your annual bill when using incandescent lights
Time to complete: 1-2 hours
Cost: About $3 per bulb

*Time, percent savings and cost according to U.S. Department of Energy.

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