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Three DYI projects that save energy & money

Winter weather can have a big impact on your energy bills, hitting your pockets a little harder than you would have liked.

Now that spring is just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to tackle a few DIY efficiency projects for your home. The good news: You don’t have to be an energy expert to do this!

There are several easy ways to save energy, but if you’re willing to take a hands-on approach, here are three projects you can do now to start saving.

Make the Most of Your Water Heater.
Let’s start with one of the easiest projects: insulating your water heater. Insulating a water heater that’s warm to the touch can save 7 to 16 percent annually on your water heating bills. If your water heater is new, it is likely already insulated. But if your water heater is warm to the touch, it needs additional insulation.

You can purchase a pre-cut jacket or blanket for about $20. You’ll need two people for this project. Before you start, turn off the water heater. Wrap the blanket around the water heater and tape it to temporarily keep it in place. Use a marker to note the areas where the controls are so you can cut them out. Once the blanket is positioned correctly, tape it permanently in place, then turn the water heater back on. If you have an electric water heater, do not set the thermostat above 130 degrees to avoid overheating.

Seal Air Leaks with Caulk.
The average American family spends $2,000 annually on energy bills, but unfortunately, much of that money is wasted through air leaks in the home.
Applying caulk around windows, doors, electrical wiring and plumbing can save energy and money. Silicone caulking is the most popular, because it is waterproof, and won’t shrink or crack. Before applying new caulk, clean and remove old caulk. The area should be clean and dry before you apply the new caulk. Apply the caulk in a continuous stream, and make sure it sticks to both sides of the crack or seam. Afterwards, use a putty knife to smooth out the caulk, and wipe the surface with a dry cloth.

Weatherstrip Exterior Doors.
One of the best ways to seal air leaks is to weatherstrip exterior doors, which can keep out drafts and help you control energy costs. Make sure the weatherstripping you select can withstand temperature changes, friction and the general “wear and tear” for the location of the door. You’ll need separate materials for the door sweep and the top and sides. Measure each side of the door, then cut the weatherstripping to fit each section. Make sure the
weatherstripping fits snugly against both surfaces so it compresses when the door is closed. These simple projects, you can save energy and money.