A Long, Cold Winter? Simple Energy Projects Can Save You a Bundle

With heating prices up, it’s time to consider saving energy with programmable thermostats, insulation, weatherstripping and upgrading windows and doors.

Programmable thermostat
Electronic thermostats that lower the temperature while you are in bed or away from home are the fastest, easiest way to save energy. In a cold climate, you can save about 5% for a 5° setback that lasts for eight hours. Most of these thermostats sell for less than $100, and they’re ultra-easy to install.

Floor of unheated attic: Check recommended insulation levels, and lay new insulation at right angles to the old.

Basement or crawl space: Fasten foam or fiberglass panels to the walls and cover with drywall. Either glue panels to the wall or fasten them to furring strips.

Heating ducts: Insulate in unheated attic or basement by wrapping with fiberglass insulation.

Weatherstripping is a flexible sealer for the moving parts of windows and doors. Many new windows and doors require a specific type of weatherstrip, which you may locate in hardware stores or on the Web. The generic “V-strip” adapts to many doors and windows and can even be applied in cold weather. The weatherstrip at the threshold often needs replacement. If the door bottom is still leaky, add a door sweep to seal against the floor or threshold.

Caulking seals exterior cracks around windows, doors, pipes, and vents. Scrape away old caulking and dirt, then squirt caulking into the crack.

Replace windows
Jamb kits are an easy way to update double-hung windows, with a product that can be installed and cleaned from the inside. You can install a jamb kit in less than an hour without touching the storm window, jambs, or casing molding. Order a kit to match the size of your window. Nail the vertical tracks inside the side jambs and insert the replacement sash.

Replace storm door
Battered storm doors are easy to replace on a standard-size door opening. A wooden door has better durability and will insulate better. Strip off the old door and follow directions while screwing the new one to the jambs, using a drill and other basic tools.


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