|Blower door test in progress|
Here in Maine, typical low cost suggestions might include installing gaskets under the outlet and switch plates on the exterior walls to prevent cold air from infiltrating from the outside. Next, you should look at weatherstripping the seal around your attic hatch. Due to the chimney effect of warm air rising within your home, heat wants to exit at the highest point which is typically your attic hatch. It is also quite inexpensive to weatherstrip around all your doors and windows to prevent cold air entering. If you have a basement you should look very closely at any basement entrances or windows. One way to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of your windows is to install interior storm windows. Here are instructions on my website for making them yourself at a cost of around $1.25 per square foot. Commercial interior storm windows can be custom-made at around $9/sq. ft. from AEP in Albany, New York. Before my friend Topher came up with the DIY version, I installed some of the custom commercial panels in our home, here is a detailed overview that includes thermographic images showing how well they perform.
If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, you may want to consider replacing it. Refrigerators are the single largest energy user in the average home and newer refrigerators and freezers are a great deal more efficient than they used to be. When shopping for any new appliance is important to look at the Energy Star label as a guide to comparison shopping.
|Thermal camera showing cold air leaks |
(blue) around our front door frame.
In cold climates, it is essential to ensure that your attic is very well insulated. If you can see the exposed top of the joists, then there is room for improvement. You can add another layer of fiberglass bats across the top, or have a contractor blow in an additional 10 to 12 inches of cellulose. Here is some helpful information about doing it yourself.
|Self-installed solar power and heating |
collectors on my super insulated
Maine workshop building.
I encourage you to get at least three estimates from local solar installers. You can find solar installers in your area on the http://www.findsolar.com site. There are multiple options for installing solar energy systems on your home and a qualified professional can explain them for you. You may also wish to explore the systems I self installed on my home and workshop buildings. If you are comfortable doing things yourself I suggest you start by looking at the Living Sustainably page of my site.