15:45 PM

Do It Yourself

Do the words — “Do it yourself” — instill fear and trepidation in you?

I must admit, when it comes to DIY home projects, that phrase makes my pulse race and my head spin.

Do it yourself.

But, that’s what plumbers, electricians, tile layers and stonemasons are for, right? Why should I presume that I can duplicate their talents?

And then, a quick glance at the balance in my checking account reminds me: When you employ yourself to do the easier handiwork, you pay less.

That thought lowers my pulse and steadies my head.

Thankfully, when it comes to making your home more energy efficient, Jackson EMC can guide you through projects through a collection of videos.

Home expert and TV host Ty Pennington introduces each Jackson EMC DIY video. Each clip is jam-packed with energy- and money-saving tips and small projects:

DIY Water Heater Tips: Ty acknowledges that, after heating and cooling costs, water heating is the next big energy expense on a typical residential bill. What may seem minor, like a leaky faucet, can cost homeowners a lot of money. To keep water hot and reduce waste, the video shows how to visually inspect a water heater to ensure there are no leaks. There’s also a recommendation to set the thermostat at 120 degrees or less to save money and lower the risk of burns caused by water that’s too hot.

DIY Thermal Envelope: Ty explains that a house’s “thermal envelope” includes insulation, doors, and windows — elements designed to keep outside temperatures outside and inside temps inside. This video highlights keeping the envelope tight by showing how you can inspect insulation in the attic and how to install new insulation. Homeowners are warned to steer away from power ventilators that often use more energy than they save. The video recommends replacing single pane windows with energy-efficient double pane windows and demonstrates how to fill in gaps at doors with weather-stripping, gaps at windows with caulking, and gaps at under-sink pipes with expandable foam.

DIY HVAC Tips: This video shares tips on properly maintaining heating and cooling systems, from checking for leaky ductwork to checking and replacing filters. Other easy DIY fixes include checking to ensure vents aren’t blocked by furniture or rugs and making sure outside units are not obstructed by plants or leaves. Do-it-yourselfers are encouraged to enlist qualified heating and air conditioning contractors to inspect HVAC systems every six months in order to make sure minor problems are detected before they become major.

DIY Energy Usage Habits: There are several little things you can do to bring big savings to your power bill, according to Ty. These include replacing old lightbulbs with new, energy-efficient LEDs, which last five times longer than comparable bulbs and can save you energy costs over time. Other easy-to-accomplish tips include turning lights off when not in use, setting the HVAC thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter, keeping exterior doors closed, and doing laundry in cold water.

Even if you’ve never held a caulking gun, these videos help make doing it yourself pleasant and pain-free. Check out all of the videos at jacksonemc.com/diy-energy-projects.

Jackie Kennedy has worked with Georgia’s electric cooperatives for 23 years, producing newsletters, press releases and articles about the industry or energy-related matters. She is the author of People, Power, Progress: The Story of Jackson EMC, published in 2013. In her blog, she grapples with a variety of energy efficiency topics.