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Easy and Cheap Home Improvement Ideas to Save Energy and Money

Saving money, lowering home costs, and saving the environment. All these concepts are important for everybody's household, large or small. This article is a collection of energy-saving, eco-friendly home improvement tips utilizing DIY (do it yourself) home improvement ideas that are easy to implement and can be done by anyone regardless of their skill level.

Easy and Cheap Home Improvement Ideas to Save Energy and Money



Upgrade to programmable thermostat


Making the switch to a programmable thermostat is one of the easiest ways to save energy, and you don't have to be an electrician or a contractor to do it. Today we're going to walk you through how to install your new programmable thermostat in just five easy steps!


  1. Turn off the power. Before you do anything else, turn off the power in your home. You should find the circuit breaker in your basement or garage, and you'll want to turn it all the way off—all the way to "0". Then wait about 30 seconds before flipping it back on again. This will ensure that there's no residual power coursing through your wires and that you're perfectly safe during installation.
  2. Remove the old thermostat. Remove the old thermostat from its wall plate, then disconnect all of its wiring from their terminals on the device itself. When removing wires from their terminals, be sure not to mix them up! If you get them mixed up, it can cause serious damage to your new device, or even worse—to your wallet! Label each wire as you remove it so you know exactly where it goes when connecting your new device.



Change or clean your furnace filter


If you're looking to lower your home energy costs, cleaning or changing your furnace filter is a great place to start! Your furnace filter helps keep the air in your home clean and clear by trapping things like dust and pet dander, but over time it will clog with the dirt it collects. It's important to check the filter regularly and change it at least once a year.


You can choose how often you change your filter based on how much dirt you want to let through. If you have pets or seasonal allergies, you may want to change your filter more often than once a year.


When you're ready to change your filter, make sure to turn off your furnace first! Then locate the area where the air enters the furnace—it should look like a metal box with an opening. You'll see a panel inside—remove that panel, and then pop out the old filter.


Place the new one inside, making sure that it's facing in the direction of airflow. Once you've done that, replace the panel and turn on your furnace again. If you have trouble finding your furnace filter, check your user manual for instructions—it should give you a good idea of where to look for it.


Seal the air leaks around your home


Who doesn't love saving money? How about saving money AND the earth, all with a few simple DIY home tips? Sounds like a dream, but it's totally possible. If you follow these five tips to seal the air leaks around your home, you'll be well on your way to saving energy and lowering your utility bills each month.


  • First: check your utility bill for any unexplained spikes in usage or costs. These could indicate there are air leaks in your walls or ceiling where cool air is escaping during the summer and warm air is escaping during the winter. If you see any sudden changes in your bill, it's time to head outside and get to work sealing those leaks.
  • Next: use a caulk gun to seal any spots where two different building materials meet. Consider the corners of doors and windows, the edges of floors and walls, and the space between drywall and trim (or ceiling). Once you've caulked all these areas, use weatherstripping to seal them even further.
  • Finally: check your doors and windows for any places that feel drafty when they're closed. You can do this either by hand or using incense sticks—if you see the smoke blowing in one direction when there's no wind.


Insulate your home


If you need to reduce your energy costs in your home, here are some tips to help you go green.


If you want to save money on energy bills, there are a few eco-friendly ways that you can do this. This will help you to lower the costs of your energy bill, which will also save you money and help the environment as well.


One of the easiest ways to start saving energy is to insulate your walls and flooring. Insulation reduces heat transfer which helps with home insulation and will also reduce your energy bill. Here are some helpful tips for insulating your home:


First, check out your attic. If there is any insulation up in it, get rid of it or have it removed. If not, use a tool such as a wire brush or kraft paper (available at hardware stores) to remove dirt or other particles that could be keeping heat from flowing properly through the insulation into your home. Next, look for any cracks or gaps around windows and doors. Seal them with caulk or weatherstripping if needed.


Another way that you can reduce the amount of heating and cooling in your home is by installing double-pane windows instead of single-paned windows. 


Cover drafty windows with plastic wrap


Drafty windows can be a huge source of wasted energy in your home. There are tons of ways to insulate them, but if you're looking for an easy, eco-friendly solution, look no further than plastic wrap!


The plastic wrap creates a barrier that prevents cold air from coming in and warm air from leaving. This keeps your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It's especially effective if you live near the water where the weather is always changing.


Here are some tips to keep in mind:


  1. Use high quality plastic wrap that has been approved by an organization like Energy Star™ or EPA ENERGY STAR®.
  2. Be sure to also seal around doors and other areas where there might be leaks such as crawl spaces, attics, etc., so that you don't miss out on any savings!
  3. Measure your window before purchasing supplies (you'll need at least two layers). A roll of clear cling film can cost anywhere from $5-$15 depending on size so it's important not to overspend here!


Keep your room doors closed while cooking


Have you ever wondered how much money you're wasting on your heating bill every winter? One of the most surprising ways you can save big is by keeping your room doors closed while cooking.


It really makes sense, if you think about it: Every time you open your oven door, the temperature in your kitchen drops by 25° F. That's a pretty drastic drop! And what does that force? Your heater to work harder.


Your best bet is to keep your room doors closed so that the warmth from your oven doesn't escape into other parts of the house and make your heater have to work overtime to compensate for the change in temperature. 


This will not only help you save money on heating costs; it'll also help to improve indoor air quality and reduce the amount of toxins found in your home's air (since they won't be released into rooms outside of the kitchen).


Install door draft stoppers in rooms you don't use often


There are plenty of ways to save on energy costs, and most of them aren't all that difficult. Here are a few tips to help you save money on your power bill this winter:


  1. Install door draft stoppers in rooms you don't use often. If you have a guest room that doesn't get much use, simply installing door draft stoppers can help keep heat from escaping into the hallways. This can add up to significant savings over the course of a cold season!
  2. Take shorter showers. You don't need to take cold showers, but try turning off the water when soaping up or shampooing. Then you only need to turn it back on long enough to rinse off!
  3. Install timer switches for lights. Sometimes you forget and leave lights on for hours after leaving a room. Timer switches can help put an end to this wasteful habit, and they're pretty inexpensive too!


Don't over-dry your laundry


If you're looking for ways to save money around the house, you've probably already considered hiring a professional to install earth-friendly heating and cooling systems. But there are other ways to lower your electricity costs that don't require calling in an expert.


One of the easiest ways to do it is by lowering your dryer usage. You probably already know that drying clothes is one of the biggest energy-suckers in a typical household, but did you know that there's a way to cut that expense down even more?


Most people don't realize that they're actually over-drying their clothes when they toss them into the dryer. The key is to get them out of the dryer before they're completely dry, and letting them finish air-drying on their own. By doing this at least once or twice a week, you can save an average of $60 per year!


Wash clothes in cold water




According to Energy Star®, the average family washes 400 loads of laundry a year. If you wash clothes in cold water instead of warm, you can reduce your water heater's energy use by half.


Doing laundry is a chore, so it's easy to turn on the washer and forget about it—especially when you're busy taking care of other responsibilities. But that's exactly why it makes sense to pay attention while you do laundry: it's a task that doesn't require much of your time or energy, but it can have a huge impact on your family's monthly utility costs.


For example, did you know that washing clothes in cold water instead of hot can save you up to $30 a year? That might not seem like much (it's only $2.50 a month), but every little bit adds up—and if you start looking for ways to save money throughout your entire house, those small savings will start to add up fast!


Avoid using dryer sheets (they are not eco-friendly at all)


If you're looking to lower your home energy costs, you might have heard that switching your regular dryer sheets for wool ones can help. But did you know that dryer balls are even more effective?


Not only is the price better, but they're even more eco-friendly than their wool counterparts. Since dryer balls are reusable, you don't have to keep buying them; just keep them in good condition by washing them regularly.


The best part about using dryer balls is that you don't have to give up on the scent! You can add a few drops of essential oil to each ball before tossing it in the dryer with your clothes. This way, you get all the scent without having to deal with any of the waste that comes from disposable dryer sheets!


Skip the dryer and hang dry clothes whenever possible


If you're one of those people who likes to let their clothes tumble dry in the dryer all day, this tip is for you!


Skip the dryer and hang your clothes to air-dry, whenever possible. This is an easy way to reduce your home energy costs and make your home more eco-friendly.


Yes, you can still use the dryer, but when you have that option, choose to air-dry your clothes instead. Not only will they last longer, they'll also smell fresh without having to hit the back of a hot appliance.


Plus, if it's summertime and sunny, you can pin up some lines in your backyard or yard and let Mother Nature do the work for you!


It is easy to save money and make your home more energy efficient with a few simple changes


You can save a lot of money and make your home more energy efficient with just a handful of super simple changes.


Here are some easy tips to get started.


  1. Make sure your appliances are as energy-efficient as possible.  Just by using ENERGY STAR-certified appliances and light bulbs, you could save up to 30% on your energy bill.  For major appliances like fridges, washing machines and dryers, dishwashers and ovens, the savings can add up fast!
  2. Get rid of drafts.  An easy way to do this is by installing weather stripping around doors, windows and vents.  You can also put in a removable plastic sheet over your window frames during the winter months to keep out cold air.  If you own a fireplace, make sure you keep the damper closed when it’s not being used - that way you won’t be losing any heat through the chimney.
  3. Use ceiling fans instead of running your air conditioner or heater all the time.  Ceiling fans are great for circulating air throughout your home and they use less energy than running an AC unit or a heater.


Conclusion


If your desire and budget are limited, we hope this article has given you some valuable ways to improve your home for less money. They are simple projects that only take a few hours to complete, but can make a big difference in lowering the amount of energy you use. Just remember to keep your costs down and take care of your home!



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