Button Up DIY List

A lot of things are uncertain right now. Weatherization isn’t one of them.

Vermonters who stop air leaks and insulate their homes are saving money and staying cozy. It's likely the smartest investment you can make. This DIY list will help get you started. Which project will you take on this weekend?

Nothing beats a comprehensive weatherization job by an Efficiency Excellence Network contractor. But you can also make some major progress yourself for immediate savings. The DIY projects below will stop drafts this winter and if you complete three of them, you can get $100 to cover your material costs. See all available rebates. And, after buttononing up, if you have some additional warmth to share, donate to the Button Up Vermont Campaign to help your low-income neighbors be more energy secure.

Clicking these arrows below will give you helpful details.

Home Energy DIY Projects

  • Build an air tight, well insulated attic hatch

    Attic hatches or attic pull-down stairs can be a huge source of heat loss in a home. They are often not air sealed, allowing air to transfer between the conditioned space and the attic. In addition, they are often constructed from thin wood or drywall, which does not prevent heat loss effectively. Build an air tight, well insulated attic hatch or attic pull-down stair by weather-stripping around the edges to create a tight seal, and attaching at least 6 inches of rigid insulation to the hatch panel.

    Learn how to seal an attic hatch and get it done in an afternoon

  • Air seal and insulate the box sill and rim joists in your basement to R-15

    Basements or crawlspaces are often the second largest area of heat loss in your home (after the attic). Some of the leakiest parts of the basement are the box sills, sill plates, and rim joists. The sill plates and rim joists sit on the foundation wall. Air leaks through the gaps and cracks all the way along your foundation wall. Your rim joist or box sills may already be insulated with fiberglass; however, fiberglass does not stop air leaks effectively.

    Learn more to get started and knock this out in a day

  • Build an air tight, well insulated bulkhead door in your basement

    A bulkhead door is one of the leakiest parts of a basement, and in many cases, is built from a simple piece of plywood that doesn’t close tightly. Install weather stripping around the edges and insulate the door with at least 1.5 inches of rigid insulation. Alternatively, you can replace it with a well-insulated exterior door.

    Watch tips on insulating your basement

  • Spot air seal and insulate your attic

    Attics are often the single largest source of heat loss in a home. Heat loss is due to both air leakage through gaps and holes, as well as lack of sufficient insulation.

    Sealing air leaks with a professional spray foam gun is highly effective. Once air leaks have been sealed (common ones include openings made for plumbing and electrical lines), then additional insulation can be added.

    If you heat or cool your home with forced air, you could be losing heat through your ducts – seal the ductwork and any uninsulated crawlspaces.

    Watch how to air seal and insulate your attic

  • Install a new window, Low-E storm window or Low-E window panel

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, leaky windows can account for 10–25% of your heating bill. If your windows are in fair shape—or if you’re on a tight budget—adding storm windows is far more affordable than replacing the whole window. Storm windows keep outside air from seeping in and protect your windows and doors from storm damage. They are most often installed on the exterior of your existing windows, but you can opt for interior storm windows as well.

    Watch how to install storm windows

  • Weatherize windows

    To prevent drafts from windows, start by fixing some common sources of air leaks: add caulking around window casings, fill in unused pulley cavities, and replace cracked panes and glazing compound (be careful not to caulk the window shut). Then add weather-stripping around the edges.

    Get started with air sealing

  • Weatherize exterior doors

    Exterior doors in your home can allow air leaks even when they are closed. Use clear acrylic caulk to seal air that is leaking around the frame of the door, and install a door sweep at the bottom to prevent strong drafts. Then weather strip the door to create a tight seal.

    Get started with air sealing

  • Air seal your basement walls (for stone foundations)

    Most homes in Vermont can benefit from more insulation and proper air sealing. You can save an average of $375 a year by properly air sealing and insulating your home. You’ll also stay more comfortable, year-round.

    Watch how to insulate your basement

  • Air seal your HVAC ducts

    If you heat or cool your home with forced air, you could lose up to 30% of it through your ducts – if they’re in a cold space and not sealed. That leads to uncomfortable rooms and high energy costs. Sealing them up can make a big difference. Kate will show you how.

    Duct sealing tips

  • Pipe insulation

    Insulating the hot water pipes with foam tubes helps keep water hot as it travels from your heater to where you’re using it. Pipe insulation is cheap and easy to add. Some newer water heaters have built in insulation. If your water heater says it has less than an R25 insulation, or if it feels warm when you touch it, it’s worth insulating. Renee will show you how. Figure out the size of your pipes and pick some insulation up at your local hardware store.

Have questions? Call 888-921-5990 for answers and advice from an Efficiency Vermont energy specialist. Monday-Friday, 8-5. If you live in Burlington, email or call a Burlington Electric Department energy specialist at 802-865-7362.

Learn more about the 2020 Button Up Campaign