Reduce Household Energy Expenses

Reducing our energy expenses is a current focus for me. With the recent 50% jump in our propane heating expenses I've begun investing significant time in trying to reduce our heating expenses. Our home was built in 1994, and when we bought it 2 years ago I was initially shocked at how much it cost us to heat and cool the house.

Here is a list of energy saving steps that we have done so far on our home, they include:

  • repaired and improved the weatherstripping on exterior doors and windows
  • installing programmable thermostats
  • added outlet sealers and plugs to electrical outlets and light switches throughout the house
  • I've added a couple rolls of additional insulation and thinking about adding more in the future
  • built an attic stair cover with weatherstripping and insulation to seal the attic entrance
  • adding a hot water heater blanket
  • adding a timer for our hot water heater so that the hot water heater doesn't run from midnight to 6am when we are sleeping

Focusing on Air Sealing our home in the Attic and Crawlspace
The cost of our energy use (electric + propane) ran us a little over $3,200 in the past year (avg $266/mo). I still think thats too high and the next option to reduce these costs is to further air seal our home.

The nice thing about air sealing is its not actually expensive, its really just time intensive. I've already addressed the interior, its now time to focus on air sealing in the attic, garage, and crawlspace with several tubes of silicone caulk at $2/tube.

I've begun by pulling back insulation around electrical boxes, air ducts, and vent stacks and just sealing around the edges in the attic and crawlspace with a caulk gun. I know there is some air definitely escaping as I have seen light coming through the outlets or soot on the adjacent insulation near ducts once I peel back the insulation before I seal them. I found this to be a good guide for addressing air leaks in the attic.

Once I feel like the house is well sealed I guess my next upgrade project would be to add more insulation.

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Comments (5)

We are looking to insulate our house. It is very drafty, but I have located the issues to being around the Windows/Doors. Problem is, this may cost some $$. It may be more of a comfort issue, rather than cost savings.

One thing you may want to look into is a Radiant barrier. I believe it is either a film or can be sprayed in the attic and from what I have heard works very well.

I heard that LED television consumes 60% less energy than a LCD television. I'm probably going to spend money on that to save money. Irony...

Let me know if the timer on the water heater works, also what do the plugs for the outlets do?

More info on outlet plugs. The timer works well- we actually signed up for a Smartgrid pilot through our electric company and one of the things they installed was a control for the water heater that we can program just like a programmable thermostat. It works great - my wife does not even know when the water heater is turned off since it has the reserve tank which seems to cover what little water is used during the periods its off.

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A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
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