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Winter weather can have a big impact on your energy bills, hitting your pockets a little harder than you would have liked. Now that spring is just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to tackle a few DIY efficiency projects for your home. The good news: You don’t have to be an energy expert to do this!

Insulating an electric water heater that’s warm to the touch can save 7 to 16 percent annually on your water heating bills. If your water heater is new, it is likely already adequately insulated. But if your water heater feels warm to the touch, it needs additional insulation. You can purchase a pre-cut jacket or blanket for about $20. To install it, turn off the water heater, wrap the blanket around the water heater and tape it to temporarily keep it in place. Once the blanket is positioned correctly tape it permanently in place, then turn the water heater back on. For electric water heaters, do not set the thermostat above 130 degrees, which can cause overheating. 

The average American family spends $2,000 annually on energy bills, but unfortunately, much of that money is wasted through air leaks in the home. Applying caulk around windows, doors, electrical wiring and plumbing can save energy and money. Silicone caulk, the most popular type, is waterproof, flexible and won’t shrink or crack. Before applying new caulk, clean and remove any old caulk or paint with a putty knife, screwdriver, brush or solvent. Apply the caulk in one continuous stream, and make sure it sticks to both sides of the crack or seam. Afterwards, use a putty knife to smooth out the caulk, then wipe the surface with a dry cloth. 

One of the best ways to seal air leaks is to weather strip exterior doors, which can keep out drafts and help you control energy costs. Weather stripping materials vary, but you can ask your local hardware or home store for assistance if you’re unsure about the supplies you need. Before applying the new weather stripping, clean the moulding with water and soap, then let the area dry completely. Measure each side of the door, then cut the weather stripping to fit each section. Make sure the weather stripping fits snugly against both surfaces so it compresses when the door is closed. (76585002)

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