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Do-It-Yourself Savings

  Do-It-Yourself Savings

Home improvement shows inspire a lot of us to redecorate, but if you are a DIYer, you could put those same skills to work saving energy—and money.

Insulate Your Water Heater Tank

Unless you have a new model, your water heater tank is probably not insulated. All you’ll need is an insulation blanket and a friend to help you hold it in place. First, turn off your water heater and then measure it carefully. Cut the insulation blanket to fit the tank, and then wrap it around, temporarily taping it into place. Once it’s secure, cut out holes where the control panels are, then tape the blanket permanently in place. This project can reduce heat loss by 25–45 percent.

Seal Air Leaks

When you have tiny air leaks around your windows and doors, hot air can make its way into your house during summer and cold air can come in during winter. This forces your heating and cooling system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. Clean the area thoroughly, removing any old, cracked caulking. Hold a caulking gun at a 45-degree angle and apply caulk while moving the gun smoothly from one side of the door or window to the other. If the caulk does not make it all the way into the crack, use a craft stick or spoon to push it in before it dries.

Install Window Film

If you have a bigger budget for home improvement projects, you should consider replacing windows with Energy Star models. If you don’t, installing a window film is a great alternative. Window films block the sun’s heat from coming into the house so your air conditioner does not have to consume as much energy to cool down the space. Materials are inexpensive, and installation is relatively quick and easy.

Create a Rain Barrel

Instead of letting rainwater fall to the ground, capture this valuable resource with a rain barrel. Place the barrel underneath your gutter’s downspout to collect rainwater, which you can use to water plants or your lawn or to wash the dog.