Quick, Efficient Projects for the Weekend

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ November 6, 2010

This time of year, most home improvement bloggers weigh in with indoor improvement suggestions as the weather turns stormy around the country. One favorite topic is how to create greater energy efficiency through the cold months without having to lay out a large amount of money. You read a lot about setting thermostats and installing insulation this time of year.

Over at Yahoo Finance this week, there was a piece on projects that cost less than $250 that you can knock out over a weekend and increase your home's energy efficiency. All of the ideas seem obvious and straightforward to me. They include:

Spend Five Minutes and $10

That means adding low-flow aerators to each faucet in your home, saving up to 500 gallons of water a year. According to Kipplinger, energy efficient features lead the list of must-haves from potential buyers and "you can expect to recoup 70% to 80% of the cost of kitchen-remodeling work when you sell your home."

Spend One Hour and $200-$250

Install a WaterSense-labeled efficient toilet, saving upwards of $90 annually on your water bills.

Spend 15 Minutes and Less than $60

WaterSense-labeled shower heads can save consumers more than 2,300 gallons of water every year. Or, if you're really interested in economy, consider installing the newest generation of tankless water heaters.

Spend 30 minutes and Less than $250

I wrote about programmable thermostats last month, and Yahoo Finance includes them in their article. Save $180 a year in utility bills.

Spend 15 minutes and Less than $15

Unscrew all your incandescent light bulbs and put in compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) as part of turning your home green. The ENERGYSTAR-rated CFLs use 75 percent less power, adding up to $65 in annual savings.

Spend 15 minutes and Less than $55

Batten down the chimney. Plugging your flue can keep cold air out when you're not burning a fire. And it keeps your cool air in the house during summer months.

Spend Two Hours and Less Than $250

Install a pre-made energy efficient front door and air-tight door weather stripping. A drafty door is no fun in high winds and cruel winter chills.

Spend Two Hours and $240 or Less

Pre-made attic hatches keep energy bills in check and your home tight in winter and summer. You can even build your own hatch from $30 kits at home improvement stores.

Think it over. If you have a few hours and a few dollars to spend in the house making it ready for winter, you have less money to spend on utility bills all year long.

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