What can I do to save when insulation or upgrades aren’t possible?
I am renting an older farmhouse that is a bit drafty. What can I do to save when insulation or upgrades aren’t possible?
This is a common question. The number one thing I can tell you to do is weatherizing. It’s simple and cost-effective. Sealing air leaks around vents, windows or doors is a great way to reduce the cost of heating and cooling. These are the most common sources of air leaks because air easily gets in (and out). You can prevent air leaks by assessing your home and noting any cracks in vents or weak seals of windows and doors.
You may want to also look at openings in walls, floors and ceilings from plumbing, ducts or wiring. These are all primary sources of air leaks.
Seal air leaks between the wall and window frame with caulking, and to seal the spaces between windows and doors you can use weather stripping. These items can be purchased at any hardware store and are inexpensive fixes. These are simple techniques that provide a return on your investment within about a year.
However, if you are in a rental you may want to consider something less permanent than caulking, especially in the winter months.
Plastic covering on windows or doors you don’t use in the winter can be an inexpensive way to help slow air leaks. You can find plastic covering at a hardware store and you can use tape or staples to keep it in place. It sounds like a lot of work, but it does help keep that cold air from coming in.
There are a few other suggestions for rentals that you can do that will help save energy and costs overall. LED lightbulbs are the easiest, followed by using power strips you can turn off and on when you are home or away. You can always consider closing shades or drapes and keep the HVAC filter clean. You can see big savings by using the thermostat. A one-degree increase in the thermostat set point can reduce energy usages in HVAC systems by 3-5%.
You may not control the major improvements in your home if you rent but some of the smaller projects and lifestyle changes can have a major effect on your energy bill.