There are many small repairs you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint and increase the amount of change in your pocket. When calling in a pro, labor is the bulk of the bill. So, if you want to save money, it's all about DIY. Luckily, you don't have to be an experienced contractor to perform some small tune-ups on your house. Here are a few cost-efficient home repair tips and tricks for reducing your bottom line while greening up your abode.
Replacing your high-volume shower heads with the low-flow variety will lower your water consumption by about 20,000 gallons per year. Not to mention you'll receive an electric bill reflecting savings in water heating costs. A wrench and the ability to hold up your arms over your head for a couple of minutes are all the skills you need to do it all by yourself.
If your hot water heater feels warm when you touch it, it could use some extra insulation. Fortunately, doing it yourself is easy. Your local big box store should have a pre-cut insulating blanket that fits nice and snug around your existing hot water heater. This $20 purchase will pay for itself in a year by saving you up to 10 percent in water heating costs. It also improves your air quality by cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions.
Even small leaks around windows and doors can lead to a lot of escaped heat and air conditioning throughout the year. If you can close a door or window on a piece of paper and pull the paper out, you've got an air leak. Weather stripping provides a good seal in gaps where windows and doors shut. Grab a caulk gun and apply a continuous bead around window and door frames to stop the little cracks that may not even be noticeable.
If your rooms seem musty and muggy in the summer, or cold and clammy in the winter, you may have leaky ducts. And the monthly cost of trying to keep your house at a reasonable temperature is probably giving your eyes leaky ducts. So head to your local home improvement store and pick up some duct wrap. An afternoon in the basement wrapping ducts could slice up to 25 percent off your monthly bill.
A lone leaky faucet or dripping pipes can waste a whopping 200-plus gallons of water each month. Fortunately, there are many DIY fixes you can try before making the call to your plumber. Leaking faucets may just need a screw tightened, and if you have a leak where your pipes join, you may only need to tighten the joint. A leaky pipe replacement is best left to the pros, but try a pipe patch before you call in the big guns.
Read Shared Walls: Why Fixing Cracks Should Be at the Top of Your DIY List. Keep reading to learn why fixing cracks should be at the top of your list.
- "Caulking and Weatherstripping." energysavers.gov, 2010. http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11260
- "Going Green with Mr. Handyman Will Save You Green." Mrhandymanwa.com, 2010. http://www.mrhandymanwa.com/green-home-repair.html
- "How to Repair Plumbing Pipes." Howstuffworks.com, 2010. https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/plumbing/how-to-repair-plumbing-pipes.htm
- "Insulate Your Water Heater Tank for Energy Savings." Energysavers.com, March 24, 2009. http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13070
- "SoftTouch Duct Wrap." Certainteed.com, 2010. http://www.certainteed.com/products/insulation/hvac-mechanical/317380