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Energy-efficient DIY projects that take just hours to complete

(BPT) – Did you know it takes just one afternoon to save money on your utility bills? Take on a few easy DIY projects this weekend to see immediate savings while making your home more comfortable and environmentally friendly for the long term. As cold months quickly approach, now is the perfect time to improve your home’s energy efficiency and set the stage for a warm, comfortable home this winter.

One way to boost your home’s energy efficiency is to make sure it’s properly insulated. That doesn’t mean starting from square one or having to make a large investment to re-insulate your home from its foundation. There are several easy ways that you can add insulation and air sealing to your home quickly, easily and cost-effectively so that you can reap immediate benefits.

Seal gaps throughout the home. Having trouble keeping your home comfortable year-round? You’re not alone. The average homeowner spends $1,300 a year on energy utility costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Air leaks account for 25-40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical home. Products like Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealants from Dow Building Solutions seal those gaps to help you keep the warm air in. Simply spray the insulating sealant in gaps and cracks in the home or attic around doors, windows, plumbing pipes and electrical outlets.

Within minutes, it expands to close the gaps to deliver long-lasting results. A recent study conducted by Dow Building Solutions and DR Nelson & Associates showed an annual $45 savings by sealing plumbing penetrations under sinks with sealants like Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealants.

Insulate the basement ceiling. Rim joists, the area where the basement wall meets the ceiling, are a major source of lost air. If your home has an unfinished basement with rim joists that are lined with precut sections of fiberglass insulation called batt insulation, pop out the insulation and spray Great Stuff Gaps & Cracks along the inner edges of each joist, like you’re outlining a picture frame. The foam expands to form an airtight, water-resistant seal that closes any gaps. In addition to eliminating cold, drafty air, you’ll start saving money immediately.

Blanket your water heater. In between hot showers and dishwashing, your water heater continues to store hot water. The heat that’s lost in the process is called standby heat loss and frequently occurs in old water heaters that lack proper insulation. If you have a new water heater, it is likely already insulated. For older water heaters check that it has insulation with an R-value of 24 or higher. If it doesn’t, you can find pre-cut jackets or blankets at most hardware stores that are specifically made for water heaters for around $20. This quick and simple project could reduce standby heat losses by 25–45 percent and save you approximately 4–9 percent in water heating costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Sweep seal your front door. Gaps beneath doors that lead to the outside allow air to creep in. Slide a U-shaped door sweep directly under the door. It’s an easy, cost-effective way to build a barrier that blocks the cold weather.

Add insulation to drafty windows. Great Stuff Window & Door creates a strong seal with a special low-pressure formula that insulates the window without bending the frame. Add another layer of protection against the threat of cold air by decorating with shades that reduce heat loss. Dual shades that feature reflective white on one side and a heat-absorbing dark color on the other can be reversed depending on the season to increase energy efficiency. Position the shade so the reflective white faces the inside of the room in the cool months to trap the warm air.

Since each of these projects takes no longer than a couple of hours to complete, add a few of them to your weekend to-do list. Determine which projects will help maximize your home’s energy efficiency and enjoy the savings all winter – or use the extra money to shop for the upcoming holiday season.

For more ways to save on your heating and cooling bills, and to find out where to purchase products, visit