Save Attic Energy Loss
Even with the attic access door closed, you may be wasting money heating and cooling a storage space. The Attic Tent insulator plugs that energy leak, reducing heat loss up to 71 percent and cutting your energy bill up to 20 percent – paying for itself in one year. How? A sleeping bag-looking insulated door covers your entryway, allowing you easy, zippered accessibility into your space while keeping blown insulation where it belongs. Available in seven different sizes, it can be used on folding attic stairs, attic scuttle holes, knee wall doors, and full-sized doors that are up to 35-inches long. Best part: It arrives fully assembled and ready to install.
Cost: $200-$240 depending on size
For more info: AtticTent.com
Photo courtesy of Motomo Enterprises, LLC
“Clog” Your Chimney
Ho Ho Ho: Your chimney is a major source of heat loss even with a conventional damper in the closed position. Good dampers work great while new, but over time even a great damper will warp and allow cold air in. The Chimney Balloon®, invented by an English plastics engineer concerned about heat loss, provides a double layer of padded insulation and is 15 percent more efficient that using a conventional damper, based on tests by a certified energy auditor. If you don’t have a damper at all, Chimney Balloon is 27 percent more efficient. At Christmas, deflate the chimney balloon or leave a warning note for Santa.
Cost: $43-$87 depending on size, pump $32
For more info: ChimneyBalloon.us
Double a Window’s Energy Efficiency
Sometimes it’s so cold we can actually feel drafts coming through our windows, while just imagining the heat that’s escaping. Energy efficient windows are great, but an extra thermal layer is needed on those super chilly nights (just like a comfy sweatshirt). The Duette Architella honeycomb design shades promise to double the energy efficiency of your windows, saving you up to $60 a year in energy costs per average sized window. Protect your furniture, floors and rugs too – when closed, these shades guard against 99 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Even better, these babies are the only blinds so far to qualify for the federal energy tax credit, without add-on insulation systems. And, you can choose from among 180 color and design options. Installation is easy with snap-in brackets, but Hunter Douglas recommends professional measuring and installation.
Cost: Starts at $201 per window
For more info: HunterDouglas.com
Drape Your Windows
About 40 percent of your home’s heat loss is through the windows. Eclipse thermal curtains can save up to 25 percent on heating, block out 99 percent of light and reduce noise by 40 percent. Eclipse thermal curtains are available in a variety of styles, colors and lengths.
Cost: $24 for a 63-inch panel and $28 for an 84-inch panel
For more: EclipseCurtains.com
Seal Electric Outlets
The space behind your electrical outlet covers is small, but the amount of warm air that can escape is worth saving. Inexpensive outlet sealers close off the space.
Installation is easy – even for a novice DIYer. To be extra safe, turn off the power. With a screwdriver, unscrew your regular outlet cover, insert the outlet sealer, and then put your regular outlet cover back on.
Cost: About $2 for a six-pack, about $28 for 100
For more info: Lowes.com
Photo courtesy of Lowe’s
Keep Your AC Cool
Your AC works hard to keep your house cool, often making a 90 degree day feel like a breezy 68… But what cools your AC? You can help your system chill out with a Cool-N-Save ™ AC misting system. This mist sucks heat out of the air and then evaporates quickly. This flash evaporation lowers the air temperature as much as 30 degrees around your AC unit and increases its energy efficiency rating (EER), saving you money in two ways. Your AC unit will use less pressure and less energy, lowering your energy bills. And because the unit runs less, it will last longer – saving you money. Cool-N-Save is easy to install with no tools needed or complex diagrams to follow.
For more info: CoolnSave.com
Flood Your Yard With (Cheaper) Light
Save money on lighting without the issues that come with compact fluorescent lights. Phillips AmbientLED R20 floodlight turns on faster, lasts longer, emits virtually no heat and contains no mercury. Based on a 10 cents per kWh energy rate, these floodlights, which are rated to last 40,000 hours, will save $132 in energy costs during their lifetimes.
Cost: about $30
For more info: Lighting.Phillips.com
Shade Your Home Robotically
Think you’re tech-savvy? Not until you have automatic window shades. Lutron Energy Saver Shades will work with a home automation system to raise and lower based on your home’s temperature — keeping your HVAC bills at a minimum. The shades also will raise and lower based on glare — to protect your furniture from sun damage. Lutron shades are available in hundreds of fabrics including bamboo and can be custom made with your choice of fabric. SheerShades, shown, are translucent, allowing you to enjoy your view and the benefits of shades too.
Cost: About $2,500 per window, installed
For more info: Lutron.com
Find Leaks and Drafts
Where’s that cold air coming from? You’re certain your doors and windows are airtight, yet you keep feeling a draft. The Smoke Pencil Puffer Stick is at at-home version of the same tool used by professional energy raters and HVAC installers. Just pull the trigger on the smoke stick near the area that you suspect a draft and see how the smoke moves. The light on the end of the stick illuminates the smoke and the area you’re testing, for easy air movement detection. Another plus: unlike some other smoke puffers, this one uses no toxic chemicals. The smoke is a harmless, non-toxic and sweet smelling Glycol and Glycerin, similar to toy train smoke vapor.
For more info: ChimneyBalloon.us
Dim Those Lights
Fun fact: Dimming your lights 25 percent will save 20 percent on electricity use and increase the life of your bulbs. That means replacing one conventional switch with a Lutron dimmer will save the average household about $30 a year in energy use. That’s just a two-year payback time. Bonus: dimmer lights are more romantic and flattering.
For more info: Lutron.com
Regulate Temperature in Each Room
Would Goldilocks wander your home searching for the room with a temperature that’s just right? Even if you have a multi-zone HVAC system, some rooms may be too warm while others are too cool. Although the central thermostats tell each system when to turn on and off, rooms vary by size, ductwork and amount of sunlight. Achieving just the right temperature in one room may cause another to be over-heated or over-cooled.
Activent solves the problem by regulating the temperature in each room. The product replaces the existing vent covers in your home, converting them to active components in your zoned HVAC system. A wireless thermostat, which can be placed anywhere in a room, signals the vent to close when the desired temperature is reached and to open when additional heating or cooling is needed. The heating or cooling that would have been wasted in one room is automatically redirected to other rooms of the home. This allows the house to efficiently reach its set temperature throughout, reducing utility bills by up to 5 percent per Activent equipped room. Now sit down and enjoy your porridge.
Cost: $100 for Activent and Remote Controller wireless thermostat, $75 each for additional Activents
For more info: TheActivent.com
Blanket Your Water Heater in Savings
Wrap up savings on hot water when you wrap your hot water heater with this special blanket. The Frost King hot water heater blanket is made of vinyl backed fiberglass, saving your system from fighting a frosty day. It’s 48 inches by 75 inches by 2 inches and includes plastic tape for easy installation. The Department of Energy estimates that you’ll save 4 percent to 9 percent per year on the cost of heating water.
For more info: Lowes.com item #24413