How can I conserve energy in my older home?

Mr. Handyman Offers Energy Tips for Older Homes

The older your home, the more likely you’re paying higher energy costs than necessary, especially if you have a fireplace. The Department of Energy estimates that a lit fireplace removes about 24,000 cubic feet of furnace-heated air out your chimney every hour, and replaces it with cold air that comes back in through the chimney. This causes your furnace to work harder to keep your house warm, increasing energy costs tremendously. Close the damper on the fireplace when it’s not being used, and keep your thermostat set lower when you use the fireplace. Save even more by installing a programmable thermostat.

When the air in your house can escape through cracks and gaps around your windows and doors, it increases your energy costs. Windows can be caulked or weatherstripped to seal them, and Indoor Weather Kit products are available that can increase a single-paned window’s R-value (insulation ability) by up to 90%. Storm doors can help eliminate airflow through older doors.

By adding about $300 of new insulation in your attic, you can reduce your heating and cooling needs by up to 30%, especially if your home is more than 25 years old. Insulation is also beneficial in crawl spaces, ceilings, and basement walls.

Heating water in your home accounts for up to 11% of your utility bill. Updating your water heater for a more efficient model, and replacing older toilets, showerheads, and faucets with newer low-flow models will save money in the long run.

If your older home has an older furnace, consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model. If your budget doesn’t allow for a new furnace, have your existing model tuned regularly to avoid soot buildup, dusty fans, loose fan belts, and flickering pilot lights, which can add to your yearly heating costs. For more information, please contact:

Mr. Handyman of Wheaton-Hinsdale

245 W. Roosevelt Road #69

West Chicago