Seal the cracks to save you money

Sunday, January 27, 2008

By Garrett Bahr

Now is not the time to let your money slip through the cracks of your home. The simplest and cheapest steps will allow you to save your nickels and dimes as well as reducing the consumption of energy. Many prospective buyers will also be very interested in the efficiency of a home that has inexpensive upkeep.

One of the best investments is a couple rolls of insulation to wrap throughout a home. The water heater will maintain its heat longer when insulation is wrapped horizontally around the heater. If you have a gas water heater, make sure there is at least a couple of inches from the flue collar. Many homes have never received attention to the subfloor where many homes lack insulation if the basement is unfinished. In the middle of the day, shut off all the lights and look for light coming in from the outside, then simply add insulation to keep the cold air outside.

Windows and doors are a significant loss of heat in many homes. It has been estimated that up to 35 percent of lost heat is through the windows and door cracks of a home. A homeowner can check for leaks by moving a candle around the seams on a windy day. If the flame is dancing on the wick then the drafts are making their way inside. One can recaulk any damaged areas or spray foam insulation to keep the air from drafting in the home.

A programmable thermostat is another great way to efficiently tell your furnace when to run. It can be programmed to maintain a low temperature setting throughout the day and can really kick in at night when the entire family is home. An average programmable thermostat will cost the consumer about a $150, with savings that will pay for itself in the first year. Appliances account for another 20 percent of a home's energy expenses. Consider looking for the energy star on all of your appliance purchases.

Trees are a great way to help your property value grow, gain some extra privacy from your neighbors and help on the energy costs. Any evergreen tree will maintain its needles all year and help contribute to blocking the wind in the winter and shading the sun from your home in the summer.

Brought to you through the partnership of the Southeast Missourian and the Cape Girardeau County Board of Realtors.

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