Few people realize how much energy is wasted heating and cooling their homes. What’s worse is that the biggest waste comes not from using A/C or heat too much, but the fact that most of the energy ends up outside the house. Cracks and leaks allow both hot and cool air out into the world where it doesn’t belong, forcing your appliances to work even harder to keep you comfortable. On top of that, old, inefficient appliances suck more energy than necessary, and we’re often too busy to notice.
Every time I look for advice about how to make my apartment less of an energy black hole, all I can find are suggestions about replacing my dishwasher or re-insulating my house. These energy upgrades are not only too expensive for my budget, they’re nearly impossible for a non-homeowner. Who says we have to rely on experts to help us prevent energy waste in our homes, anyway? Below are five DIY home energy upgrades that can be completed for around $100 each (and they don’t require you to be a master electrician or remodeling contractor).
If you’ve got other suggestions of energy-saving upgrades that can be made on the cheap, please share them in a comment!
DIY Home Energy Audit
The first step to smaller utility bills is figuring out how and where your home is losing energy. The best way to located energy escape routes is to have a whole home energy audit. This is usually done by professionals and can cost hundreds of dollars (although some utilities offer discounts). With the right set of instructions, however, you can conduct your own home energy audit that will let you know if there are any glaring leaks. There are lots of different guides to performing your own energy assessment available on the internet, however this one from the city of Seattle [PDF] is one of the most comprehensive. This one from the U.S. Department of Energy isn’t too bad either.
Keep reading for more DIY home energy upgrades under $100!