Weekend Energy Efficiency Projects – Low Cost and Totally DIY

The arrival of a Vermont winter means working hard to keep out the cold.

As a longtime resident of Vermont, I have heard numerous stories from friends and co-workers about how they try to stay warm without spending a lot on heating fuel.

Ideas range from toughing it out (we are NOT going to turn the heat on until November 15th!) to drinking a lot of hot tea. Then there are those who always seem to be wearing a hat and can tell you the many merits of the cork-bottomed L.L. Bean Wicked Good Slippers (in my opinion, a MUST if you want to feel your toes between January and April).

There are other ways to stay cozy without receiving a whopping heating bill in your mailbox. If you have a weekend, we have some low cost energy efficiency projects that you can do for your home that will make you feel warmer by Sunday night.

Simple and Effective Insulation

Hang Curtains 

Go stand near your window on a cold day. Feel that? Even if you have newer windows, cold air will make its way into your home. Curtains are a simple way to keep that cold air out and warm air in.

Invest in lined curtains. They will do a better job than sheer or lightweight ones. Sometimes these can be pricey so check in thrift stores or craigslist first – you may be able to get a great deal on someone else’s castoff!

How you hang your curtains makes a big difference as well! This tutorial gives you step-by step instructions on how to hang curtains to most efficiently block window drafts.

Curtains aren’t just for windows either! Hanging a heavy curtain across your front door will prevent cold air from leaking in.

Just remember, curtains work best at keeping out the cold when closed. As soon as the sun goes down, make sure to draw your curtains closed and keep them that way all night. If you have a window that isn’t letting the sun shine in, close the curtain over it when you leave the house as well. Every little bit helps!


Weather Stripping 

Don’t forget this inexpensive way to make sure your doors and windows fit tightly. This is yet another way to keep out the cold air (are you seeing a theme here?). Weather stripping can be found at any home improvement store and, if you’re even a little bit handy, you can complete a project like this over a weekend. There are a few different types that work best depending on your situation – this handy list from This Old House will help you choose the right materials and should get you on your way to sealing up those windows and doors!

Outlet Insulation 

Outlets and switches on exterior walls are another sneaky way that cold air can invite itself in. The good news is that there are ways to insulate them that don’t cost more than a few dollars and take a short time.

Walk around your house and feel any and all outlets that are on outside walls – if you can feel some cold air creeping in, take a few moments and basic materials to insulate them.

Are you inspired to do even more energy efficiency projects so you can save money? Check out our Pinterest board for more links and ideas for DIY upgrades!