10 DIY Energy Upgrades for the Home

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Not all energy upgrades to older homes involve hiring contractors and spending thousands of dollars. Even small, do-it-yourself projects can conserve energy and make the environment greener.

Door draft stoppers

The oldest trick in the book is a horizontal “beanbag” or other long, flexible stopper that snuggles up against your door. Make one if you have sewing skills, buy one online or find one at the antique mall.

Weather stripping

If you don’t have time or the resources to install draft-free doors and windows, peel-off weather stripping is inexpensive and quick.

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Leak-proof pet ports

If you have indoor-outdoor animals, a lot of cold air sweeps in and out of your house or garage through pet ports. Newer versions with flexible panels that are often magnetized create stronger seals while keeping pets safe.

RELATED: Here’s Why Area Homeowners are Investing in Green Upgrades for Older Houses

“Home schooling”

Teach everyone in your family the basics of energy savings—turn off lights when you’re not in the room, adjust the thermostat when you leave the house, wash dishes and clothes only when you have full loads, run hot water only when you need it and limit shower time.

Low-VOC paints

Use paints that have low levels of VOCs—volatile organic compounds—to help reduce the danger of indoor air pollution from chemical outgassing.

Green pest controls

Many companies offer green pest management outside and inside your home, but learn what is being done differently before signing the contract. Help yourself by cleaning up pest-attracting clutter outside your home and inside your basement.

Organic cleaning supplies

As with green pest controls, search out cleaning products that will break down quickly in the environment.

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RELATED: How Local Public Agencies Can Help Make Efficiency Affordable

Detox your home

At least once a year—spring is a good time—rid your home of all excess cleaning and gardening compounds, disposing of them according to county regulations or at approved disposal sites.

Do an energy self-audit

While professional audits are best, go to energy.gov/energysaver/home-energy-audits/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits for a government-approved DIY check list.

Electric cars

Technically, autos aren’t part of your home, but they do live in garages and are a great, if initially expensive, DIY way to reduce greenhouse gases.

Published as “10 DIY Energy Upgrades” in the October 2020 issue of Delaware Today.

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