Make the Time, Part 2: 60 Minutes to Savings

We’ve previously blogged about how taking just five minutes a day can help you save energy, but what if you’ve got a little more time on your hands? If you’ve got an extra hour on your hands, then boy howdy have we got some projects for you! Read on to learn how you can turn those sixty minutes into serious energy savings.

Project 1: Insulate Your Water Heater
It takes a lot of energy to heat the water in your home, but it takes a lot more if your water heater isn’t properly insulated in the first place. That’s because the energy that should keep your water piping hot is being radiated out into your home instead. If your water heater is warm to the touch, that’s a sign that it needs insulation.

Insulation kits are available at most hardware stores, and usually consist of an insulating blanket, pipe wraps, and tape. With these materials and about an hour of your time, your water heater can do its job more efficiently—saving you money in the process.

Project 2: Caulk Your Air Leaks
In our last installment, we suggested spending five minutes visually inspecting your windows for air leaks. This week, we’d like to up the ante—grab your trusty caulking gun and get to work sealing up those window leaks.

Be sure to scrape out and remove old caulk first, especially if it’s cracked or pulling away from the edges of your windows. You’ll also want to have something handy for wiping away excess caulk, so keep some paper towels handy. Focus on the largest leaks first, working your way down to smaller ones.

When you’re finished, it’ll be easier for your home to hold its temperature. That means less strain for your HVAC system—as well as your wallet.

Project 3: Go With the (Low) Flow

Insulating your water heater isn’t the only way to reduce its energy consumption. If you use less hot water in the first place, your water heater will have less work to do, and that can lead to big energy savings.

By installing low flow showerheads and water faucets, you can help drastically reduce the amount of hot water being wasted in your home. Considering a typical showerhead goes through about 10 gallons of water per minute, replacing it with a low-flow fixture can make quite the improvement—especially as it adds up over time.

Bonus Project: Plant a Shade Tree
We figured we should make this one a bonus project. That’s because, while it might not take much more than an hour to plant a sapling, you’re going to have to wait a while to see the benefits. But in the long term? Planting shade trees is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to keep your home cool during those sunny summer months.