Fill the Gaps to Save Energy

Air leaks

Caulking is an awesome thing to do, assuming you like to stay warm in winter.  That toasty air flowing from your heater or furnace has a better chance of keeping you comfortable if you keep it indoors.

Your heating and cooling take up about half of the total energy costs in your home – and with proper sealing and insulation, you can save up to about 20 percent of those heating and cooling costs.

Air leaks aren’t hard to find.  As a matter of fact, they fell like “leaking air.”  You can find leaks by moving your hand around the frames of windows and doors.  If you feel air coming through, there’s an opening ready for sealing.

Air leaksGaps can occur where different materials meet – such as between brick and wood siding or between the foundation and walls.  Potential trouble spots include: mail chutes, electrical and gas service entrances, cable and phone lines, outdoor water faucets and vents/fans.  Caulking is used to fill many gaps; weather stripping is for the movable joints of your doors and windows.

Sealing your heating and cooling ducts can also improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent.  The performance of your system, however, is perhaps the most significant factor affecting energy use.

If your system is more than 10 years old or isn’t keeping you comfortable, have it evaluated.  If it’s time for a replacement, consider replacing your system with a unit that has a higher efficiency rating.  These systems reduce energy spending and increase comfort.  We can help you find the system that’s right for you.  Call us for details at 402-362-5702.

Product Selector tool

Advertisements

Zucchini Ricotta Bake

This is my go to recipe to use up zucchini’s from the garden and it is oh so delicious!

Zucchini Ricotta Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) light ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, divided
  • 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) low-sodium spaghetti sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-in. slices.  Place in a basket over 1 in. of boiling water.  Cover and steam for 5-6 minutes or until just tender.  Drain; pat dry.  In a bowl, combine ricotta, egg substitute, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, parsley, oregano, basil and pepper; set aside.  Spread a third of the spaghetti sauce in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs.  Cover with half of the zucchini, ricotta mixture and mozzarella.  Repeat layers of sauce, zucchini, ricotta mixture and mozzarella.  Cover with remaining sauce.  Combine remaining crumbs and Parmesan; sprinkle over top.  Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer.  Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 12 servings

Zucchini Ricotta Bake

Home Efficiency Checklist

IMG_1225

Weather stripping around doors.

Here are a number of simple and inexpensive DIY projects that will reduce your heating cost this winter and cooling costs next summer.  These projects will also make your home a healthier and more comfortable place to live.

  • Weather-strip the attic access door.
  • Seal the holes between the heated space and the attic.
  • Check weather-stripping on windows and doors inside and outside of the house.
  • Caulk along baseboards with a clear sealant.
  • Replace your old leaky windows.  When unable to replace an inefficient window, install plastic over the inside of the window.  If you desire something more permanent than plastic, install an interior storm window.
  • Replace broken glass and any loose caulking.
  • Replace an old warped entry door with a new insulated door.
  • Keep dryer vent screens lint free.
  • Seal any holes in the foundation wall with caulk for foam sealant.
  • If you have a crawl space, place a layer of plastic on the dirt floor.
Window

Make sure your windows are sealed.