The Accidental Housewife: Energy-saving DIY home improvement tips

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Though Mother Earth has now returned our Florida paradise to ‘home, warm home’, I wanted to share some home improvement tips that will help us whether another arctic blast or heat wave hits, and save us up to 20% on our annual energy bills.

And you’ll be surprised where those culprits lie.

Leaks: on your mark, get set, point!

Take aim: the easiest and best way to detect where air is escaping is to use an infra-red thermal leak detector, which will save you up to 20% off your annual energy bills. All you do is point and click to see if the temp is too hot or too cold. An Accidental Housewife’s energy saving dream machine, available at your local hardware store or retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s for around $30-100.

Doors and windows: sock it to ‘em

Throw in the towel: or rather down! To help stop drafts from the bottom of your doors, throw down some towels. An easy to install rubber draft guard will also do the trick.

Sock it to them: depending upon the width of your doors or windows, fill enough knee-high socks with (uncooked) dried rice to match the width. Be sure to leave enough room unfilled at the top of the sock to tightly tie a knot. Then place them on the sill and/or bottom of your drafty door. This is a very easy project for your kiddies to do or at least help with and makes them feel like they’ve helped with some energy savings—a good life lesson! Tip: use those single socks that have lost their mate in what I lovingly refer to as my dryer’s “Bermuda triangle”!

Frames, outlets and sockets, oh my! Seal the deal

On your mark, get set, plug: it’s easy to plug up cracks around your window and door frames that can cause heat to literally ‘fly out the door’ -- without breaking a nail or a sweat! Just take aim with a mani-friendly caulking tool that you can buy at your local hardware store. So on your mark get set plug! Be sure to hit not only obvious leaks, which may loom around your doors, windows, outlets, switch plates and cabinets, but those that are less obvious, like recessed lights, outlets, corner gaps and cracks.

Seal the deal ‘n socket: believe it or not, 10-15% of our heat or air conditioning can escape through light switches and sockets. No problem: simply take a ride to your local Ace and install electric socket 'n switch seals. Trust me, it’s even the least handy of we Accidental Housewives can do it to derail those drafts and keep your energy bills in tow. Available at Ace, Lowe’s and Home Depot.