Trim Your Fat for the New Year- The Home Edition! Part I
A New Year would not be a New Year without a few resolutions we all vow to make moving forward. While you are working on yourself this year, put some of that energy towards taking care of your house, too with the series Trim Your Fat for the New Year! You might even burn some calories to help with your weight loss goals (more on that in the weeks ahead…)! Here are some helpful tips from your friendly neighborhood New Hampshire Home Inspector to get you started. This is the first segment of our multi-part series, so stay-tuned for more.
Trim the fat: A few energy-saving changes can help you shrink the waistline on your electric bills and free up those funds to put towards your other resolutions. Some of your improvements may even qualify you for rebates. Visit NH Energy Incentives to learn more.
- Switch off the lights when you leave a room
- Install energy saving light bulbs and low-flow showerheads and toilets
- Dry some of your clothes on a line and pop them in the dryer just to fluff them or dry loads back-to-back so the dryer doesn’t cool down between loads since a warm dryer uses less energy.
- Run only full loads in the dishwasher or washing machine
- Turn off power strips and set computers to sleep mode when you aren’t using them
- Change and/or clean your furnace filter monthly to improve efficiency and your air-quality
- Run ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to help push the warm air near your ceiling back down into the room.
Be a Handyman:
- Seal and insulate ductwork to improve efficiency of both your heating and cooling system. Not only does this help save money on your immediate bill, but it also helps extend the life of your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump which can save you even bigger $$$ in the future. Visit http://energy.gov for some how-to tips.
Don’t forget to call a professional for your annual furnace or boiler tune-up to maintain its efficiency, safety, and life-span too!
- Insulate exposed hot water pipes to prevent heat loss and help keep your hot water hot by the time it reaches you in the shower. This can also allow you to lower the temperature setting on you hot water tank saving you even more money. We particularly like the easy to use self-sealing foam insulation.
- Clean your dryer vents for faster, more efficient drying and to help prevent fire. This not only includes the part on the outside of your house that is more easily visible, but also the actual duct from the dryer to the outside vent. There is a great step-by-step description on Wikihow for those of us who prefer pictures! You can also tie a rag to a plumbing snake and pull the cloth through the duct or you can get really fancy with a “LintEater” device (pictured at left). Please note, we do NOT guarantee you will be as excited to clean your dryer vent as this woman is.
- Seal drafty windows and doors to help improve efficiency and your own personal comfort now that the temperatures are dropping. This may involve replacing loose, worn, or distorted weather stripping or caulking. You may find this Houselogic article very helpful. Don’t forget about attic hatches and doors!
- Seal electrical boxes that hold switches or outlets which can also be a major source of heat loss. Foam gaskets sold at your local home store are easy to install. Consider using in boxes on the exterior walls of your home that would have the most heat loss.
- Seal sill plates and rim joists (pictured to right) in unfinished basements. A bead of silicone or acrylic latex caulk can be applied between the edge of the sill plate and the top of the foundation wall. Larger gaps may benefit from expanding spray foam.
Not sure where your leaks are? Winter is the perfect season to utilize our thermal imaging services in NH! Nick is a licensed and certified NH home inspector and can help you ‘see’ energy loss throughout the house including around windows and doors and your HVAC ductwork. Visit our Thermal Imaging page to learn more!