If your utility bill is out of control, you need to consider ways to tame the beast. There are plenty of do it yourself [DIY] ways to save on utilities.
DIY Methods to Save on Utilities
Utility costs for heating, cooling and electricity are near record highs. Worse, they are expected to rise fairly dramatically over the next few years. Since you will live in a residence for the rest of your life, making small changes to save money on utilities will save you tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Here are some areas to check out and fix to start saving some bucks.
Leaks and drafts from the interior of your home to the exterior can easily double your utility bill. There are a couple of obvious areas to check out such as windows, frames around doors, fireplaces and entrances to attics. Less obvious spots to check include gaps around electric outlets, mail slots, pipes, spaces around baseboards and gaps around air conditioners where the interface with the exterior. If you find gaps, caulking can often take care of the problem or you can pursue a weekend DIY repair.
Insulation in a home can be a real problem when it comes to utilities. Since I hope to avoid getting sued, let me just suggest builders tend to use the minimum amount and grade of insulation required by regulations when building homes. If you live in a tract home, this may be all the more true.
If you seal the areas where you have drafts, but the heater or air conditioner is still turning on every few minutes, insulation may be a problem. Inspecting insulation isn’t the easiest or most comfortable task. The easiest method is to first climb into the attic and see if there is any exposed insulation. Unfortunately, the grade of insulation in the ceiling may not match the grade in the walls.
To check the walls, the best bet is to find a small are where you might have a hole. Closets are typical spots. If you have kids, look for areas where a doorknob has punched through a wall. If none of these are available, you can remove a small surface area in a closet. Once done, determine if the entire area is filled with insulation as well as the R grade of your insulation. Compare it to recommended grades in your area. You can then patch the area and nobody will be the wiser. If all else fails, get a thermal inspection for a professional.
Most people are not going to need to blow out their insulation. Doing so will help, but sealing a home will go a long way to cutting your utility costs. With this in mind, give your home the once over.
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