Home Energy Efficiency Projects for the Do-it-Yourselfer

When it comes to the changing seasons, everyone has their own traditions. Maybe you pull the sweaters out of storage and start baking pies. Maybe you take a walk through the woods to observe the colors of the leaves. Or, if you’re like some of us, maybe you walk around the house with your hands in the air, asking, “Does this place feel drafty to you?”

Okay, maybe you’re not worried about that just yet—after all, homes typically don’t use as much energy in the fall as they do in the winter and summer months. But don’t let that lull you into a false sense of complacency. There’s still plenty to be done to make your home more energy efficient, and you’ll be glad you did once winter arrives. (After all, who wants to do DIY in December?)

Here are a few simple projects to help you get started.

PROJECT: Switch to High-Efficiency Lighting to Easily Save Energy

Want a fast way to save energy? Upgrade your home’s lighting to ENERGY STAR® bulbs. Not only is this a great way to kick up the look and feel of your home’s living spaces, it’s a simple way to use energy more efficiently every day. Start here.

Urgency Rating: Low

Is inefficient lighting the biggest energy drain in your home? Probably not. But is it one of the easiest to remediate? Definitely. If you’re looking for a place to start, and something you can easily knock out in a weekend afternoon, this is a great project to tackle.

PROJECT: Create a Barrier Against Energy Loss

If your attic is unfinished, you probably aren’t worried about keeping it warm. Unfortunately, if your attic stairway or hatch isn’t properly sealed and insulated, the warm air from inside your home is slipping up there anyway. That means you’re paying to heat a space you don’t even use. Want to stop? Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Urgency Rating: Medium

The colder it gets outside, the more expensive it is to have air leaks around your attic stairway or hatch. The good news, though, is that this means you also stand to save more once you seal it. This project is a little more labor-intensive than swapping out your lightbulbs, but it’s also got a bigger payoff.

PROJECT: Maintain Your HVAC System for Best Performance

Your heating and cooling system uses more energy than almost anything in your home. So even if you’ve sealed up your air leaks, if your HVAC system is poorly maintained, it’s going to run a lot less efficiently—and that difference will show up on your energy bill. Here’s our guide to proper (and safe) HVAC maintenance.

Urgency Rating: High

Depending on what your HVAC system needs, giving it the proper maintenance could improve the system’s efficiency up to 33%. This one might take you the better part of a weekend, but if you’re serious about using less energy it’s a great place to get started.

“But Power Moves,” you say, “I’ve been a faithful reader for years, and I’ve already crossed these projects off my list! Don’t you have any others?”

We surely do! In fact, we have guides to all sorts of DIY projects, complete with step-by-step instructions, tools and materials lists, and safety requirements. You can even sort through the projects by skill and priority levels to make sure you find one that’s right for you.

Start making your home more efficient (not to mention more comfortable) today. Check out our full project list here.