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Energy Efficiency

Three DIY Efficiency Projects To Tackle Today

Inexpensive upgrades can help you save money

You may think energy efficiency upgrades require a great deal of time and expense, but that’s not always the case. If you’re interested in making your home more efficient but don’t want to break the bank, there are several do-it-yourself projects you can tackle to increase energy savings. Let’s take a look at three inexpensive upgrades that can save energy throughout the year.

Trim Dryer Vent Hose

Level of difficulty: easy.
Supplies needed: tin snips, gloves, measuring tape and masking tape.
Estimated cost: about $25 depending on the supplies you already have.

If your dryer vent hose is too long, your dryer is working harder than it has to and using more energy than necessary. The vent hose should be long enough for you to pull the dryer out a couple feet from the wall and should form a line—it should not have a lot of slack, twists or curves. A shorter, unobstructed vent hose increases the efficiency of your dryer, allows for faster drying and reduces the buildup of lint, which is a potential fire hazard.

Simply measure, mark and trim the hose to the desired length, then reattach the hose to your dryer and exterior vent.

Seal Air Leaks

Level of difficulty: moderate.
Supplies needed: caulk and caulk gun, weatherstripping, gloves, putty knife, and paper towels.
Estimated cost: $25­–$50 depending on the materials you purchase.

Sealing air leaks in your home can help you save 10%–20% on heating and cooling bills. Apply caulk around windows, doors, electrical wiring and plumbing to seal in conditioned air. You should also add weatherstripping around exterior doors, which can keep out drafts and help you control energy costs. Types of caulking and weatherstripping materials vary; ask your local hardware or home store for assistance if you’re unsure about the supplies you need. For more information, the U.S. Department of Energy provides step-by-step instructions for caulking and weatherstripping online at

Insulate Attic Stairs Opening

Level of difficulty: moderate.
Supplies needed: rigid foam board, faced blanket insulation, tape for foam board, measuring tape, utility knife, caulk and caulk gun, and plywood.
Estimated cost: $50–$100.

A properly insulated attic is one of the best ways to optimize energy savings and comfort in your home, but many homeowners don’t consider insulating the attic stairs or the opening to their attic space. Even a well-insulated attic can leak air through the stairs opening. Luckily, there’s an easy fix.

An insulated cover box can seal and insulate the attic stairs opening. You can build your own insulated cover box or purchase a prebuilt box or kit from a local home improvement store for about $60. If you decide to build your own, check out step-by-step instructions from the Department of Energy online at If your attic opening is located in a garage that you do not heat and cool, this upgrade will not be as effective.