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Insulate Yourself – 6 Tips & Tricks to Save Money on the Electric Bill

Looking for the classic win-win situation this winter? Look no further, home insulation is the way to go. Not only will it keep you more comfortable, but it will also save you money. And not to mention, the reduction of energy needs from the environment will have you sleeping better every night. And the best news? A lot of insulation tricks can be done at home, with only little effort and small investments. And here for you today, to get you started on a warmer winter, are some things to know about home insulation, and six do it yourself tricks for you to take home with you:

What to Know
There is a base layer of knowledge you will want to acquire before heading to the Home Depot. Most of it is common sense, but revolves around what type of insulation you need and where you need it. This includes the type of insulation (fiberglass, recycled cotton, or cellulose, including R-values*), and locating the spots in your house that lose heat quickly. Most spots are obvious, like windows and doors, garages and attics, and even light switches. Do a little research starting with The Department of Energy Website, or the other resources provided at the end of the article. Also consider a home energy audit, where a professional can come to your house and asses your different insulation needs. Check with your local utility company, for they often provide and subsidize energy audits to their customers. In the mean time, here are 6 quick fixes you can get started on today:

A Note About Safety: Never insulate near heat sources such as a heater or fireplace, although most insulation is fire retardant, it can still potentially catch fire with enough exposure.

6 Insulation Tips and Tricks:

Weather Stripping. One of the most common ways of home insulation is sealing cracks around windows and doors. There are a handful of products including v-strips, felt, and foam tape; and all of them are inexpensive and share similar properties. Ask your local hardware handyman what will work best for you, and check it out some step-by-step instructions on installing a window seal and plastic wrapping:

Programmable Thermostat
According to the Consumer Energy Center for California, every degree you lower your average thermostat reading, you’ll save up to 5% on energy costs. If you are like most households, there are times in the day where nobody is home. There is no need to keep the couch warm for your arrival, cut back on the heat in the times of the day where you don’t need it, and save some money this winter.

Water Heater Insulation
Give your water heater a big hug this winter with a customized water heater jacket. Your water heater has a tough job through the winter months, with little insulation itself (especially in older models), it has to keep your water a piping hot 120 degrees. Help your water heater, and your energy bill, by watching this video to learn everything you need to know about water heater insulation:

Outlet Insulation
A slightly less-known, but incredibly simple way to add insulation to your home is through your outlets. Pre-cut foam insulators are available at your local hardware store, and can be simply installed by unscrewing the outlet cover, applying the foam, and ta-da, easy insulation. Outlet and light switch insulation is a great and simple way to save money on your energy bills.

Do It Yourself Attic Insulation with Blower
So this one may take a quick phone call and the entire weekend, but if you’re attic is currently not insulated, or not insulated well, you are losing heat left and right. Contact the local hardware store, rent an insulation blower, and follow these simple instructions laid out by the video below:

Covering Fireplace
Unfortunately that aesthetic fireplace in the corner is outdated technology. Typically all fireplaces in older households don’t do a great job keeping your house warm. A lot of cold air enters through the chimney, and if you don’t use your fireplace often, always make sure the flu is closed. Consider placing a decorative slate over the entrance. If you do use the fireplace, which is a nice winter time pleasure, invest in a glass window that can conduct the heat better, or an air transfer blow-back system to circulate heat around the room.

The time of year is right, get your insulation done before the real winter weight falls. Stay cozy, save money, and reduce your energy this winter by making the quickly returned investment of insulation. Below are additional resources to check out before you hit the local hardware store:

Additional Resources

*R-Value: Measures a materials ability to block heat. The higher the R-Value, the higher insulation factor. Note: due to varying environmental conditions, buying the highest R-Value does not guarantee the best product for your insulation needs. Make sure to go for the appropriate R-value for you specific insulation needs.

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