Low-income households typically spend 14% of their total annual income on energy, compared with 3.5% for other households. But there are plenty of low-cost ideas any of us can take advantage of to make our homes warmer, more comfortable and energy-efficient.
These easy-to-implement ideas from SNAP’s Conservation Education and Weatherization programs can help keep the cold temperatures outside – where they belong!
Keep the Inside Cozy
Now is the time to seal leaks where cold air comes in and warm air seeps out!
- Install door sweeps, weatherstripping and caulking around all doors and door frames. There’s even special stripping for sliding glass doors.
- Seal cracked glass; caulk or glaze around window edges; and seal pulley holes in windows.
- Install shrink-to-fit plastic over the inside of windows.
- Seal all light switches and electrical outlets on perimeter walls with foam gaskets.
- If you don’t use your fireplace, make sure the flu is closed tight then stuff a piece of insulation up the chimney. Hang something from the insulation (a holiday ornament works great) to remind you not to light a fire until the chimney is open again.
- Adhere a square of foam insulation to the inside of your attic access panel then weatherstrip the perimeter of the attic entry before sliding the panel back into place.
Control Heating Costs
For every degree you turn down your thermostat you save about $5 each month!
- During waking hours that you’re home, set your thermostat to 65-68 degrees. Turn it down to about 55-57 overnight, and when you’re away from home for more than three hours.
- Change furnace filters every month during the heating season. Reusable filters are available for most furnaces and need cleaning on a monthly basis. Pleated filters should be replaced every three months the rest of the year.
Keep the Outside Cozy, Too
A simple exterior inspection can save you a lot of trouble, money and work!
- Seal any cracks in your foundation or exterior walls with a multipurpose sealant.
- If your water meter is outside, open the cover, stuff a layer of insulation around the meter then make sure the covers is snug for the winter.
- Turn all outside water off, and remove all hoses – this is a critical step because even if water is turned off an attached hose will cause pipes to freeze. Insulated spigot covers act as extra insurance against deep freezes.
All materials mentioned in this post can be purchased inexpensively at your local home improvement store.
With an emphasis on energy efficiency and safety upgrades, typical SNAP Home Weatherization projects include furnace tune-ups, reducing air infiltration, sealing heating ducts, door and window repairs and installing new insulation. Homeowners must meet income guidelines and priority is given to the elderly, residents with disabilities, families with children and residents with communication barriers.
If you’d like more information about SNAP’s Weatherization or Conservation Education programs, please visit SNAPWA.ORG and click HOUSING SERVICES or call (509)744-3370 x 210.