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Midcoast Green Collaborative > Articles > Zero Budget

I Can't Afford Not  to Weatherize my House

Weatherizing from a Zero Budget.

by: Topher Belknap

Things you probably already know & do
• Turn down the thermostat whenever you don't need the heat.
• Short showers instead of long showers or baths.
• Turn down hot water tank to 120°F, saves $6 per year per degree.
• Turn off all lights and appliances when you don't need them.
• Wash clothes in cold water.
• Dry clothes on clothesline or 'solar clothes dryer'.
• Turn off pilot lights, water heater, and unplug everything when away.
• Unplug chargers, adapters, and anything with a remote.
• Service furnace and replace filters regularly.
• Keep the basement windows, and crawl space vents closed at all times.
All savings are per month.
Phase 1 (free stuff)
• Tour the house with all occupants, looking for energy issues. (every month)1 hour
• Post all energy bills for all to see. (every month)10 mins
• Adjust door lockplates, so door closes tightly. (per door) 2 hrs$5.51
• Remove window screens & clean windows in the fall (per window)20 mins$0.76
• Close tightly, and lock windows in fall (per window)10 mins$0.39
• Stuff cracks in windows and unused doors (per door or window)2 hrs$1.99
• Stuff any noticable holes with anything handy (e.g. old socks). 2 hrs$1.90
• Clean out gutters (prevents water in the basement)2 hrs$1.60
• Rig locks for any windows lacking them (per window)2 hrs$0.75
• Put boxes of insulative material (e.g. packing peanuts) on attic floor (per box)10 mins$0.02
Phase 2 (cheap stuff)
ActionTimeCost $Savings
• Replace most used (6 hrs/day) light bulbs with CFLs. (per bulb)10 mins$0.99$1.42
• Seal air holes with spray foam insulation. (per can) 2 hour$7.02$7.20
• Weatherstrip around the attic hatch / door.2 hour$3.98$4.00
• Seal air cracks with caulk (per tube)3 hours$4.00$3.80
• Replace often used (3 hrs/day) light bulbs with CFLs. (per bulb)10 mins$0.99$0.75
• Weatherstrip around used doors.2 hour$8.80$4.00
• Put gaskets, and child proof caps, on all outlets and switches (per 10)1 hours$4.50$1.42
• Replace rarely used (1 hr/day) light bulbs with CFLs. (per bulb)10 mins$0.99$0.25
• Seal (with mastic) and insulate heating ducts (per linear foot)30 mins$1.30$0.30
• Insulate the attic hatch / door. 4" rigid foam works well.2 hour$24.00$3.18
• Green Fret Double Pane Interior Storm windows (per window)2 hours$15.00$0.83
• Green Fret Triple Pane Interior Storm windows (per window)3 hours$18.00$0.99
• Insulate heating pipes (per foot of pipe)5 mins$0.48$0.02
• Build a low-mass solar space (solar hot air heater). See: Builditsolar.com 20 hours$300$42.56
Phase 3 (expensive stuff)
ActionTimeCost $Savings
• Blown in cellulose insulation in empty 4" wall cavities. (per square foot)1 min$0.55$0.06
• Fiberglass batt insulation in basement ceiling (per square foot)2 mins$.83$0.05
• Heat Retaining Ventilator (plus lots more air sealing) 32 hours$1500$52.47
• Build a solar hot water heater. See: Builditsolar.com60 hours$1500$30.57
• Blown in cellulose insulation in attic, up to 20" thick. (per square foot)1 min$1.34$0.012
Moisture Issues
• Seal a plastic sheet (6 mil. or thicker) over exposed dirt in basement or crawl space.
• Shellac based primer (e.g. B•I•N), on walls and ceilings (esp. bathrooms).
• Add a plastic vapor barrier on warm side of all new or moved insulation.
TimeSavingsto dateCoststo dateBalance% Orginal
• Month 1$23.28$23.28$0.00$0.00$23.2896.1%
• Month 2$32.92$79.48$19.98$19.98$59.5090.5%
• Month 3$19.23154.91$47.06$67.04$87.8787.3%
• Month 4$24.20$254.54$27.88$94.92$159.6283.2%
• Month 5$35.80$389.97$48.76$143.68$246.2977.2%
• Month 6$19.98$545.38$83.04$226.72$318.6673.8%
• Month 7$3.92$704.71$77.28$304.00$400.7173.1%
• Month 8$17.60$881.08$74.04$378.04$503.0470.3%
• Month 9$3.92$1,061.37$77.28$455.32$606.0569.6%
• Month 10$3.92$1,245.58$77.28$532.60$712.9869.0%
• Month 11$3.92$1,433.71$77.28$609.88$823.8368.3%
• Month 12$3.92$1,625.76$77.28$687.16$938.6067.6%
• Year 2$186.41$3,930.36$1,127.55$1,814.71$2,115.6536.2%
• Year 3$78.00$8,471.88$2,100.00$3,914.71$4,557.1723.1%
• Year 4$37.99$13,949.40$1,500.00$5,414.71$8,534.6916.7%
Totals:Hours worked: 832Spent: $5,414.71 Saved: $13,949.40CO2 Savings, lbs per year: 25,543