If you are serious about changing your carbon footprint or about saving money, then this article is for you. Rex and I are big believers in energy audits, because you would be surprised to know how much a “regular” house leaks. However, I like knowing that there are ways that I can personally accomplish something that will save us money and time and is ultimately good for the planet. I especially like knowing there are easy ways. I can imagine that I have options, and they seem attainable.
Within this informational slide show by The Daily Green, there are ways to clean out or tweak your current large, energy-consuming appliances and ways to get the most out of what you already have, and many of them for the DIY’er. There are many important weatherizing improvements listed, such as caulking, sealing, and insulating around windows, and cleaning out or replacing appliance filters. You should always determine if your improvements are covered by state or federal rebates, tax deductions, or if you qualify for low-income weatherization programs in your area. You can Google that for your state. Here in Missouri, we have several. So in addition, I have a few favorites on this list of weatherization tips.
Okay, now the fun part. My favorite Top 4 Weatherization Tips:
Possibly the first thing we do in the fall in Missouri, is to get out our sweaters and jackets. We really look forward to the autumn change in weather, in part because it generally follows a pretty hot summer, and also because of the beautiful autumn colors. However, sweaters are not just for the outdoors; a light-weight sweater-type layer (over a sleeveless shirt or t-shirt) works beautifully inside the house to help maintain a comfortable body temperature without having to pay $ for it daily, as you would by turning UP your thermostat. And it just feels right, like you could be snuggled up with a kitty in your lap, drinking a piping hot cup of tea. For you die-hard t-shirts-and-flip-flops-in-winter folks – remember, it’s also better for your health to keep your room temperatures lower, and it’s better for the planet.
Another one of my favorite suggestions for winterizing your home is using an energy monitor. Absolutely a favorite! Especially, if you like to read gauges and thermometers, you will get a thrill from monitoring your energy usage. We have a voltmeter in the house, which tells us how much solar energy we have stored in the batteries. Also, our inverter tells us how much AC it is creating, which translates into how many watts we are currently using. It helps you keep your usage in check. Our batteries get more of a challenge during winter, so a monitor really helps us stay on top of things and adjust our usage.
**A sidebar: . AC is Alternating Current, that which is grid electricity and DC is Direct Current, which is produced by solar power. The inverter allows DC to switch into AC to be used in the house with regular electrical appliances. We use both AC and DC in our off-grid application. DC appliances tend to be more expensive and less available, but they are more efficient than AC appliances. It’s a trade-off. Our inverter is fairly efficient, inverting 93% of incoming DC current to AC, but inverters are different, some more efficient than others. **
This is a super-cool idea! Get creative with your refrigeration to save energy and money.
Take advantage of the cold winter air outside to cool a hand-built insulated cabinet attached to your house, through a door or even through a window (which we used to do!). This blog article says all you need is some wood, insulation and a couple of computer fans (or socks!). Get detailed with the super-frig.
And last but not least – my #1 favorite, because it requires some creativity and sewing on my part. 😉 A Draft Snake ~ You can find many different styles to purchase too.
Dodging Drafts: According to the U. S. Department of Energy, doors and windows can waste 5% to 30% of your energy. That’s a lot. As a tribute to what may have started back in the Great Depression, we can see some very artistic modern versions of this tried-and-true method, some with a lot of personality.
These draft snakes can be as subtle as the fabric they are made with, such as this beauty on the windowsill, or they can be bright and lovely like this patchwork snake.
It’s especially fun when children can get in on the action, maybe even helping to make one. Or, you may have to make a special snake just for your little one, since it may be moved all about the house, doing a different job – that of companion snake. 🙂
One blog post states: “In the fight against cold drafts (not to mention pollution and global warming), draft snakes can be real superheroes.”
Enjoy your process of weatherizing your home! By all means, get an energy audit and save yourself some dough; many states offer rebates for weatherization if it involves an energy audit. Inspire others, and share your photos and ideas here. I will be sharing photos of my draft snake soon.