Home Energy Efficiency: 10 DIY Projects to make your house more sustainable



Published on: October 10, 2020

The average American household spends up to $2000 on energy bills annually. The bulk of this fee is taken up by unnecessary electricity usage such as cooling systems, and air leaks, amongst others. Improving your home energy efficiency will help you cut costs and utilize electricity better for your comfort.

Home efficiency DIY projects help you save money on simple tasks. Many of these projects are fun to engage in, with the physical activity also beneficial to your health. Below are the top ten home efficiency DIY projects.

1. Insulation the Building Envelope

The building envelope of a home refers to the physical features that separate and it from outside. The foundation, roof, and walls, therefore, make up the building envelope of every home. Being the features that protect the home from outside, these parts are responsible for retaining heat in the building. Insulation is therefore needed to regulate the flow of heat and conserve energy within the home. There are four options available to you when it comes to insulating, which are rolls, rigid foam, loose-fill, and foam-in-place. Choosing the best option depends on the location of the surface and the aesthetic you fancy.

2. Insulate Your Attic

While many might not pay attention to this area, your attic is one of the first areas where you lose heat. You must, therefore, insulate your attic floor and the attic stairs. The reason for insulating the attic stairs is that there is usually a small space left in that area, causing heat loss even if your attic floor is insulated. While you can use the common insulation methods for your floor, a cover box is the best option for the stairs.

3. Weatherstripping and Caulking

One of the biggest problems one can face when it comes to home efficiency in the home is air leaks. Air leaks increase energy consumption during the cool seasons by allowing cold air in, while also allowing hot air into the home during the warm months. Weatherstripping or caulking will help you stop these leaks and save a lot of money. Caulking works for affected areas that are immovable such as cracks and gaps, while weatherstripping works for door sweeps, window tracks, and other movable joints. To identify the affected areas, simply hold an incense stick near the windows and doors to see if the smoke blows to the other side. You can then proceed to mark these areas to work on them later.

4. Cover Your Windows

Covering your windows is another easy yet essential home efficiency DIY project. Knowing that air flows must be minimized to conserve energy, it is important to cover your windows, as it is one of the outlets that air passes through. Covering your window will take care of areas that weather stripping and caulking cannot reach. You can cover your windows using plastic insulation, bubble wraps, and heavy curtains.

5. Build a Drying Rack

Another effective home efficiency DIY option is building a drying rack for your clothes. This allows you to hang-dry your clothes outside, saving the energy used by electric dryers. Although dated, they still work perfectly. Building a drying rack is a fun project that does not take much time and energy. What is more? It could also serve as a bonding exercise for the family. Besides saving energy, using a drying rack helps you manage the space in the home better. It also helps to prevent cloth clutters.

6. Switch Incandescent Bulbs

One of the most popular home efficiency DIY tasks is switching out your incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs. There are two major reasons why you should effect this change. The first reason is that LED bulbs have a longer lifespan than incandescent bulbs, so you spend less on lighting. On average, LED bulbs last 25,000 hours while incandescent bulbs burn out after about 750 hours. It also takes more energy to light an incandescent bulb, making LED bulbs the cost-effective option. Switching to LED bulbs shouldn’t take up to an hour, but the energy-saving benefits are worth it.

7. Insulate Your Water Tank

This home efficiency DIY task is often overlooked. However, insulating your water heater tank can effectively reduce heat loss by up to 45%, saving you at least 7% of your water-heating bill annually. To know if your water tank needs insulation, touch it to feel the temperature. If the water tank is warm or hot to touch, you need to insulate it. All you need for that is a blanket or a pre-cut jacket, and start saving.

8. Insulate Your Hot Water Pipes

Insulating your water pipes is also a less popular home efficiency DIY project that saves a lot of energy. Hot water is used for many activities in the house, including cleaning, cooking, and baths. As such, a lot of energy goes into water heating daily. Insulating the water pipes will save energy and cost, by reducing the heat loss and increasing the water temperature by at least 2’F. This way, you can lower the water temperature setting and still get your hot water just as you like it. Apart from home efficiency, you won’t have to wait for long periods to get your beloved hot water, and you can conserve water. It can be done with regular duct tapes pipe sleeves, some fiberglass pipe-wraps, and a pair of scissors.

9. Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to save energy on cooling and heating, by regulating the temperature. During the warmer months, you can turn down or reduce the air-conditioner at night, as the air is always cooler at that time, thereby requiring less energy. During winter months, you can also turn down the air-conditioner to safe temperature during work hours, when no one is in the house. Most thermostats can be controlled with a smartphone, so you can program it even when you are not home. These thermostats are quite easy to install, and they come with a manual to guide you.

10. Plant a Tree

Planting a tree has a lot of benefits for the home and your environment at large. Trees provide shade and reduce the temperature outdoors. They also reduce wind pressure as well as providing shade for windows. During the warmer months, trees provide a more refreshing atmosphere, reducing the need for air conditioning. Planting a tree also allows you to nurture something while also serving as an enjoyable pastime. You also a cool spot for backyard picnics with the family.

Wrapping up

Other home efficiency DIY projects that you can do yourself include building a rain barrel, installing a screen door, or installing exterior storm windows. Whichever project you choose to do, you can rest assured that you’re not only conserving energy and heat but also saving yourself some money in the long run.

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