The existing heating and cooling thermostat is removed and replaced with an energy-saving setback thermostat that can dial back the heat when nobody is home.
Some simple tips on reducing air infiltration and heat loss.
These ideas may also help in hot climates to reduce cooling costs.
This simple wood frame was coated with urethane and covered with that stretch-film intended for one-time use. But these "interior storm windows" can be removed in the summer and replaced in the winter.
The biggest difference in reducing heat loss comes from insulating the ceiling. The walls and garage door can wait.
The sloped ceiling in the second floor only had R-11 fiberglass insulation, so I added a layer of 3/4 inch foam to reduce heat loss. It made a big difference.
This Amana gas furnace develops this problem every two years... it starts but won't stay running. The fix is really simple: clean the flame sensor.
Replacing a furnace isn't cheap, so the decision didn't come easily. But the deal was cinched when we discovered that the price for an annual tune-up had gone up, and some local heating contractors were no longer servicing oil furnaces.
When we switched from fuel oil to propane, we had the opportunity to gain valuable basement space. But before we could remove the old oil tanks we had to find a way to remove the un-needed oil from the tanks.
When I asked the technician installing our new propane furnace if he had any ideas for removing the old fuel oil tanks, he just laughed. It turned out I was able to remove two 250-gallon steel oil tanks... by myself.
The mortar in this brick chimney was crumbling and falling out. The homeowner just wanted a basic patch job that would last a couple of years until the chimney could be replaced, so I used some simple masonry tools to pack new mortar into the joints.
Adding a new duct isn't rocket science, but it does require some special hand tools for working with sheet metal.
The hardest part of running a 4-inch exhaust duct is cutting the hole in the wall. No problem if you've got a big drill and 4-inch hole saw, otherwise a ring of small holes can be drilled and the cut finished with a reciprocating saw.
Since we had plenty of room in the attic, we waited until the drywall was hung before installing this fan. We just cut a hole in the ceiling and fastened the fan to the joists.
Framing the rough opening was the easy part... trimming out the opening and finding a way to mount the window air conditioner was the hard part.
The other tricky part of the project was making a good cover panel for the A/C opening to keep out cold air in the winter.