What projects are you working on this spring to save money at home?

What basic home repairs will you be managing this spring to save yourself money?

I’m in the process of:

  • Weatherstripping all my doors and windows - not sure how much savings I’ll be generating there, but it seems like a worthwhile attempt!

  • Installing a clothesline in my backyard (shown below) after we finish a few of our landscaping projects, I started by doing quite a bit of trimming and pruning this past weekend.

Share what projects you’re working on in the comments below!


Clotheslines are the future!

Hills Hoists downunder.

Gold Medal for you …

I’ll be installing a mini-split this Spring though I am really tempted to take the $2.5K that’s going to cost (self-installed for the most part) and get a window AC for <$500 and get some solar panels with the extra $2K. All this would be academic if it weren’t for:

  • I don’t have a roof.

I have thought maybe I should be financing somebody else’s solar. Where’s the easy method to do that?

I’m also installing Sense #3. At what point do you need to account for the energy consumption of the Sense monitor itself? :wink: I may be on the podium of Senses/sqft: 0.0055


I started reading this and was already coming up with questions until…

I’ve identified your core issue


My week of fix-ups was focused on saving energy and water.

I battled to get my Rachio irrigation system back to where it was last watering season, replacing 25 broken and missing mini-sprayers, as well as fixing two drip feeder line gashes and 2 popped joints. Usually it’s a relatively easy deal because the flowmeter that goes with the controller tells me how much over (or under) the flow is for each station, but an errant software update hosed up some of the flowmeter’s functionality, so I had to walk the lines of all 16 stations.

The other project was to banish the last of the incandescent / halogen lights from our house, in favor of LEDs. We had ten halogen fixtures installed 20 years ago, each with 2 100W bulbs. They aren’t on all that frequently and have proved extremely durable, so I haven’t felt pressure to change them out. A recent repair required us to combine that outdoor circuit with another one, forcing me to reduce the wattage substantially. My first try was to try just a bulb replacement, but the only LED bulbs that had the same base and similar number of lumens, didn’t fit through the fixture reflectors.

So plan B was to replace all ten fixtures with modern LED fixtures. Probably not going to save me money even over 20 years, but the right thing to do. Finally finished, tested and trimmed the overhanging plants tonight ! Time to celebrate.


This whole thread was started just to get you to share more photos of your beautiful backyard, @kevin1.
How do you like your Rachio system? It’s come up a few times across the Community - do you have consistent issues with it, or has it been a help for the most part?

Thanks Justin, more than willing to share :wink: I love the Rachio vs. old school controllers (last one was an Irritrol), for 3 reasons.

  • Ease of programming - Rachio app plus automated weather control is so much easier than trying to use the archaic panel on the Irritrol, even though it had the ability to do some weather-based control.
  • App-based manual control - I can walk around the house and turn stations on and off to see what’s really happening. It might take 5-10 on/off cycles for me to spot a watering problem. That wasn’t feasible when I had to walk 50 yards back and forth to the controller each time. Occasionally I would work with my son via the phone, but that stopped when he went off to college.
  • The flowmeter - prior to the last software update which made the flowmeter a little less reliable, it was a huge win from both a checking and maintenance perspective. The Rachio App allowed me to “baseline” the flow for all sprinkler zones, then alert me when a station was getting too much or too little water. In the spring, I could quickly fix all the flow issues in the alert list, that usually traced back to broke heads, broken lines, broken wire or stuck valves. Then I would re-baseline and the alerts would guide me when something else broke. Occasionally, I would have a big leak and the Rachio would automatically disable that station, preventing huge amounts of wasted water.

I replaced my AC when the freon was completely gone from the system. The new unit is quieter and more efficient. I installed solar panels last year based on previous years usage. I think I will bank more power than estimated.

Weather stripping and caulking the doors and windows help with drafts. I caulked a large window above my front door and it save a few degrees in the house. This is the most bang for the buck to save on heating bill.

I didn’t reply in the spring because I didn’t know what we’d be doing. I’ve added weatherstripping on our two main doors, am about to add it to six windows which we’ve also replaced ALL the glazing around the panes and will be adding new paint as well, plus need to replace the weatherstripping on the bottom of our back door. Hopefully all these make a difference.

Next on the list is adding another layer of insulation to our attic, getting the ducts sealed with Aeroseal, and adding insulation around the ducts. Anyone done either of these?

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I’ve done a lot to reduce electricity costs… The next frontier for me is reduction in water costs…

I need to get rid of my thirsty lawn and turn my front and backyard hardscaping and landscaping into something much more drought resistant with less dependency on water…

I started about 3-4 years ago. Got tired of replacing all the CF lamps I got from Costco, and were advertised to last 5-7 years, none did. Back then, new LED bulbs were on promotion for about $1/piece.

So, here is what I did to save energy:

  1. Bought a FLIR Thermal Camera iPhone accessory to identify thermal ‘leaks’
  2. Replaced 100+ light bulbs (CF+Incandescent) to Dimmable LEDs
  3. Installed 16+ Smart WIFI dimmers (Feit)
  4. Replaced/Installed Storm doors on front/laundry doors
  5. Replaced some gaskets in windows - Some did not have any (thank you contractor)
  6. Installed Motion activated light switches (kids/wife have tendency to leave lights on wherever they go)
  7. Replaced Water heater with slightly more efficient one (after 12 years)
  8. Replaced all landscape lights by LEDs - From 200+ Watts to ~50W (put more lights too)
  9. Got Sense for electricity usage monitoring
  10. Got Flume 2 for water usage monitoring
  11. I no longer water my lawn - Sorry neighbors
  12. Nest Thermostats for better heating/cooling management - Just ordered 3 ‘remote’ temp sensors for Nest, to better control heating.

Future (Spring/Summer Projects)
13. Replace cracked window, and those with failed double pane seal
14. Better sealing of garage door
15. Shower-Head flow limiters - They did that in our residences, when I was in grad school many years ago.
16. Install smart plugs to turn off power to various small devices at night (e.g., TV, game console, chargers, …)
17. Smart Blinds (apparently they help with temp insulation, need to read-up more)

There were other additions/modifications to make the house ‘smart’, including various cameras, smart plugs/bulbs, smart garage opener, Smart sprinkler controller, Radon Detector, … etc

Now trying to learn OpenHab to integrate all the smart devices and energy/water monitoring into a single command center … won’t be easy, but a good project when you’re confined indoors during the winter.


I started scheduling my HS-110 to turn off the entertainment center from12:30am to 7:30am. While the TV, amp, game consoles didn’t use much off, my wifi node did use 19w overnight. I have it turn on at 7:30 so my thermostats can reconnect. I originally set the off time to be midnight, but after the TV turned off a couple times on my wife and I, I needed to bump it back.

Yes, I’m debating whether to keep network/wifi On or not at night. Granted we’re all sleeping, but many devices at home use wifi (nest, smoke detector, security cameras, …). Gotta find out first how much the router/switches are consuming, will then decide accordingly.

One difficulty I’m facing is that I have two UPS at home, one for the TV+gameconsole+router+… etc in the family room, and another in the office powering the computers/monitors/…

If I turn the power to the UPS at night, it’ll keep on beeping while its battery discharges. I can place few smart plugs AFTER the UPS, but that makes for a very messy setup. I also thought of putting an HS300 after the UPS … but then all the connected devices consume really too little to warrant individual monitoring.

I started installing a radiant barrier as well as fixing the insulation issues in my attic. I’ve only completed 1/3 of my attic and decided to start above the kids side of the house first and it seems to have made a big difference.



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After looks a lot better! Can you tell me about the reflective insulation on your rafters? We have normal fiberglass insulation batting (I don’t remembered what R value) between our rafters, but I found over the summer the rafters get HOT, like 100°+ and make the attic super toasty, which then bleeds into the bedrooms through the uninsulated knee walls. I want to put rigid foam on the underside of the rafters to keep out more of that heat, but I am not a contractor and don’t understand roof venting. I don’t want to trap the air and create moisture and mold problems on the sheathing.

What is the reflective insulation, what R value, who designed and installed it? Thanks!

mike_gessner Looks very nice. I checked my attic only once and it’s full of that ‘powdery/loose’ insulation material … + conduit running across (thank you Contractor!). Isn’t the loose stuff dangerous for breathing?

It looks messy and it begs to be replaced, but not sure what are the implications of loose vs. clean-cut rectangles. Also, wondering if putting foil-backed foam in between the rafters is a good thing, especially for moisture/ventilation/etc. I had my roof redone last summer, and they put multiple vents near the top.

P.S. I do not mean to turn this forum into roofing/insulation Q&A … but those are all legit discussions if one is after minimizing their energy usage/footprint.

I used a respirator while I was doing the work in my attic and the blown in insulation is very bad for you if you breath it. I installed Rockwool insulation on the deck in the attic and then put up a radiant barrier which is the foil that you’re seeing on the roof trusses. The radiant barrier is a heavy duty foil faced tarp like material that is perforated to prevent moisture buildup but acts like a giant reflector to reflect the radiant heat back towards the roof deck and away from the attic space. There is no insulation between the radiant barrier and the roof deck. Last summer my attic temperatures were getting up to 158F and this summer my attic got up to a high if 116F. My brother lives an hour away and his attic got up to 159F this summer and on the same day and same temp and conditions for me my attic only got up to 116F. needless to say my brother ordered a radiant barrier kit and him and I installed it in two days.


Have you noticed a difference in your utility bills before/after installing as well?

@mike_gessner For sure that’s a big difference. I’m guessing whether that’s good/bad depends on whether one lives in hot/cold parts of the country. I’m in the mid-west, where it could get very cold in the winter, and one needs to balance the costs of heating in the winter vs. cooling in the summer. Anyone knows how to go about even running such calculation then deciding?

Besides the thermal insulation aspects/benefits, I like/prefer the looks of the ‘solid’ foam blocks. The powdery/loose stuff is real unsightly and difficult to work with. But then again, when time comes to sell the house, would the future owner (or his inspector) check the attic and how clean/messy it is ?

I was having issues with my Sense monitor and had to reset everything to get it working again but i saved the main usage data to an excel file on my computer that has monthly power usage before my sense install as well. This is what I have seen over the past 2+ years.


I’m in Virginia and we get huge temperature swings here and the radiant barrier also helps in the winter by keeping the main part of the attic warmer and keeping the freezing temps between the barrier and the roof deck which also helps to prevent ice damming by not allowing the warm air in the attic to warm the roof decking which in turn melts the snow which will refreeze when it hits the gutters.

Another benefit to the rockwool insulation is bug and animals wont nest or chew on it like fiberglass insulation.