Helping the environment is becoming an important consideration for many people when it comes to remodeling their home to replace windows and make other improvements. With energy costs skyrocketing, it's no wonder people are looking for ways to cut their energy costs, yet remain environmentally aware of their decisions. When you replace windows with more energy efficient ones, you may be able to reduce your heating and cooling costs by half or more. If this sounds good to you, read on to see how a few simple steps can put money back into your pocket.
Start With The Plumbing
Most people don't think plumbing has anything to do with being energy efficient, but it does. Check the pipes that enter your home, especially those under the sink and sewer pipes that may be in the basement. You will most likely find air leaks that allow cold air to sink into your home during the winter. There may be a cap surrounding the pipe, pull this away from the wall and you may see a much larger opening than the pipe requires.
The best way to solve this situation is with a foam spray. This special insulation foam is sprayed through a small tube, allowing you get into very small places. When it's discharged from the can, it immediately swells up to fill the open space, creating a tight seal. This is great for any type of irregular opening, as the foam will form to fit. If the gap is too large for this type of sealant, steel wool is a great alternative. Once the steel wool has been stuffed around the pipe, complete the job with duct tape to help keep it in place.
Move On To The Electrical
Even if you have energy efficient vinyl windows, you may be losing heat and cooling costs through your electrical outlets and light switches. This is easy to determine. Simply remove the plate cover and feel for a draft. The careful use of a candle held close by will allow the flame to flicker if a draft is detected as well.
If you determine that a leak is present, you should fix it carefully. Do not attempt to stuff insulation around the outlet, as this can become a fire hazard very quickly. If you do not want to hire a qualified electrician to loosen and insulate the space, you can purchase insulated covers to replace the old ones. You may also fill the space with the weather stripping that has sticky tape on one side to help prevent air leakage.
Get Rid Of Those Old Windows
The largest energy loss is from inefficient windows. If your windows aren't vinyl windows, they may not seal properly. This results in outside air freely coming into your home, increasing your energy costs. If the leakage isn't too severe, you may be able to repair the window. If it's too great, your alternative is to replace windows with a more energy efficient vinyl window.
Replacing an old wooden window with a vinyl window can make a large and immediate difference. Search the entire window area, the glass as well as the frame, both inside and outside. If you can't immediately feel a draft, you may want to check with the candle method to see if the flame flickers from a draft. Just be careful with a lit candle, especially with windows that have curtains.
If you determine that the leak is from the outside, regardless if it's wood or a vinyl window, it may be able to be repaired. The easiest way is to add insulation or sealant, depending on the location or cause of the leak. If this is the case, you won't need to replace windows, but you will still enjoy energy savings.
If you replace windows and fill the leaks around plumbing pipes and electrical boxes, you will soon see a savings on your energy bills. The simple replacement of an old wooden window with a new vinyl window can make a world of difference. You will not only save money, but the reduction of your energy use will help our environment as well.
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