By giving your home a simple but diligent walk-through, you can pinpoint and spot problems that are easy weekend fixes:
- Find out how much attic insulation you have by measuring the depth. If you have less than a foot of insulation, you might need more. For our climate, the Department of Energy recommends between 13 and 14 inches of fiberglass blanket insulation for most homes.
- On the next windy day, light a candle and hold it near any place where air can get inside—around windows and doors, plumbing fixtures, electrical panels, attic doors and cable and phone outlets. When the flame flickers, you have a draft. Seal it with caulking or weather-stripping.
- Out with the old and in with the new. Consider replacing older lightbulbs, even those compact-fluorescent ones that are only a few years old, with the more, super-efficient LED lighting.
- Find out if your water heater feels warm to the touch. If it does, and especially if it was made before 1991, you may need to add an insulation blanket. Also, check the thermostat setting. If you use a dishwasher that preheats water, you don’t need to set your water heater thermostat higher than 120 degrees.
- Be kind to your heating and cooling systems. Have furnaces and airconditioners professionally checked and serviced annually. If you use a forced-air heating system, change the filter every month. A properly maintained system can use around 10% less energy than a system that’s not in top condition. If the system is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a newer, energy-efficient unit. A new system will reduce energy consumption dramatically, especially if the existing equipment is in poor condition.