Additional Home Heating Bill Savings & Conservation Tips – 2

Editor’s Note: To view the 500+ different energy and water conservation tips for the home we have collected, simply access our free home Energy Saving and Water Saving Guide, 2nd Edition

We continue with our review of the many energy consevation tips we have received for households to reduce the consumption of natural gas, home heating oil, electricity and other energy sources consumed in the generation of heat for homes in the winter.

Yesterday, we began our review of the money saving, energy conservation, suggestions to reduce your home’s heating bills which will cost you more money to implement yet which can save you a lot year after year after year.

Number 328, Insulate Heating Ducts. There is a product which you can use to insulate the duct work in your home. It is simply an insulating blanket which wraps around your ducts. While pricey, its purpose is to keep the air heated by the furnace ( or solar air heater icon smile Additional Home Heating Bill Savings & Conservation Tips   2 ) hot until it reaches the air vent in the room. When we installed our solar air heater, we used a flexible duct line which came with the insulation for just this purpose. You can see it in the picture below.

flexible duct line from bedroom to rec room Additional Home Heating Bill Savings & Conservation Tips   2

Number 329, Storm Doors on All Exterior Doors. Installing a storm door on the outside of exterior doors adds an air barrier against the exterior door to help insulate it during the winter and thus keep more of your home’s heated air inside.

Number 330, Covers on Outside of Windows. Windows are nothing but large holes in walls. Most homes have double panes of glass to create an insulating air barrier. Some people, us included, place plastic window film on the inside of windows in the winter to add an extra insulating air barrier. You can also find similar products to put on the outside of windows in the winter that are specifically made for the outside. I haven’t found them yet in my area to tell you personally if they do work to help insulate that hold in the wall known as a window.

Number 331, Solar Space Heating. These devices are installed on the outside of homes, typically the south wall or roof. They have two access points into the home; one to receive the home’s cooled air and the second to send back into the home the air heated by the sun. We installed one last year on the south wall of our home, as shown in the picture below. As we wrote about yesterday and showed using our infra-red temperature reading device, it increases the temperature on a sunny day by up to 80 degrees F. These are not cheap. Yes, you should do or at least consider all of the no cost and cheap home heating energy conservation suggestions in our list before considering a solar air heater.

solar max 240 cover comes off Additional Home Heating Bill Savings & Conservation Tips   2

Number 332, Basement Floor Insulation and Number 333, Basement Walls Insulation.  Even if you do not use the basement in your home (if there is a basement in your home), insulating the walls and floor will keep the cold out and your heated air in, thus reducing your winter heating costs.

Number 334, Replace Outdoor Natural Gas Lamps with CFL’s. Some homes (although none in my area) use natural gas to get a real flame in their outdoor lamps. Natural gas is a non-renewable energy resource and, while much less than coal, does generate polluting emissions into the air. Consider switching the lamps to electric and installing outdoor CFL light bulbs.

Number 335, Ensure Basement Wall Headers are Insulated. This is one we have planned to tackle ourselves during the Christmas and Year End holidays this year.  Exterior basement wall headers are a common area of air leakage in homes. So, simply use an expandable insulating foam to seal any are leaks in this area. One way to tell if there are air leaks here is if you find that the pink fibreglass insulation is dirty, a result of dirty air entering the home through the basement wall headers air leak and through the fibreglass insulation. It can be a bit messy work but worth it to help reduce your winter home heating bill (and summer home cooling bill)  and save you money.

Number 336, Use Dense Shrubs on North / Windy Side of Building. This is similar to suggestion number 321. The difference is that some buildings do not have a full foot from the outside of the wall. While planting the evergreens or dense shrubs a foot or so away is preferable to create the air barrier between the shrubs and the outside of the wall, it can still provide some benefit if the shrubs are right up against the wall too. As well, if on the sunny side of the home, this natural barrier will also help keep the wall cooler in the summer.

Number 337, Paint House Light / Dark Colour re Climate. This suggestion we received relates to the colour of the outside of the house. The theory is that dark colours attract more heat than light colours. This is one reason why some folks tend to buy while coloured cars in the Southern States where it is more hot and for longer than in the north.

Number 338, Cover Stained Glass Windows With Plexiglass. This one was given to us by a contestant in a past energy conservation contest we ran. The intent is to cover a stained glass window, if you have one in your home, with something to help keep the heat inside as most stained glass windows are a single pane of glass.

To continue with our review of our additional home  heating savings and conservation tips, simply select this link to Part 3.

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  1. Chris Dieter says:

    A comment on idea number 338, covering a stained glass window with plexiglass. Yes, you will save on the heating, but you will be shortening the life span of the stained glass window itself. If you use some sort of vent plugs on that plexi-glass that allow the condensation to get out, your stained glass window will be better off in the log run. And it’s the lead came we are talking about, not so much the glass pieces. The lead wants to form a natural protective patina, but by covering it and introducing condesation that can’t escape, you are setting up an environment for the lead to decay faster. You will see the lead start to turn into a white powder and not a nice dark patina. Once the lead gets old, then bulging can take place and cracking could occur. We can install protective coverings with venting built into the framing which looks much better than “hole” scenario. Call us if you have any questions about doing it yourself.

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks for this, Chris.

    That suggestion was offered by a visitor to our site. I personally do not have any experience with this particular situation.

    What you give is a great recommendation on how to implement the energy conservation suggestion.

    Then again, if one has to use some venting, one has to wonder if there is really going to be any energy savings at all, or at least sufficient to compensate for the effort.

    Thanks, again,

  3. Belcat says:

    Chris, when I did the stained glass course, we used a tin-only solder. Tin turns white as it oxidizes, and the presence of oxidized tin is a catalyst to the reaction, so the more white powder there is, the faster it’s going to oxidize some more.
    Venting, should be two tiny holes at the top and bottom, which should still allow the air to warm up and provide some savings. At least, that is what they do when they fix windows who’s seal has broken. They also use some vents that open only under pressure I think… check it out.

  4. Belcat says:

    328 – duct insulation is usually only used in unheated spaces, it’s advantages are very limited in heated areas. They should be sealed with aluminum tape (NOT DUCT TAPE, often it’s called TUCK tape), this will prevent most of the unwanted heat migration.

    332, 333: Insulating basements wall & floor will vastly reduce the “wet” smell in the summer. Foam (Styrofoam or foam board) is recommended against the cement to prevent it from sweating from the humidity; seal it between the joints.

    337 – Never paint dark. Even in Canada, the summer heat gain will far outweigh the winter heat gain. If you insulate properly (R30+), the effects will be limited anyway.

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