Use Less Gas
Saving money on natural gas isn't just about adjusting your thermostat. Weather-proofing your home can have a significant impact on your energy usage—and your savings!
As much as 80 percent of air leakage gets in through areas other than windows and doors:
- Where the wooden sill of the house meets the foundation
- Where dryer vents and fan covers pass through the wall
- Where plumbing pipes and telephone wires enter the house
- Where any two different outside materials meet
- Where the fireplace chimney meets the siding
Fill these cracks in the interior and exterior of your house with caulk. Use only caulking compounds which are flexible over large temperature ranges and that will last for many years. These include acrylic-latex, acrylic-terpolymer, phenolic, latex, monomer, butyl and silicone caulks. They may cost a little more, but are worth it.
Pipes and Ducts
The pipes or ducts which deliver heating, cooling, and hot water throughout your home should be kept in good condition. This will not only save money on fuel bills, but also guard against costly repairs or disruption of service. Here are some tips on how to take care of them:
- Seal Leaky Pipes. Tighten or plug leaking joints in hot water or steam pipes. A leaking joint or faucet can lose 1 to 10 gallons of hot water a day! Also, repair or replace leaking valves. You may be able to repair these kinds of problems if you have the proper tools. Otherwise, have your plumber fix them.
- Seal Leaky Ducts. On hot air heating system ducts, leaky joints will send hot air where it may not be needed. You can easily fix duct leaks yourself using duct tape, available at most hardware stores.
- Guard Against Freezing Pipes. It often makes more sense to keep water pipes warm with insulation and “heat tape” rather than to heat the space around the pipes. “Heat tape” is a tape-like piece of plastic which turns on when the temperature falls below a preset level. It is available at most hardware stores with installation instructions. For best results, fiberglass pipe insulation must be installed over the heat tape.