Watch & Learn

Button Up

Get it done with tips, videos, and a list of projects to help you get started.

DIY Projects

  • Build an air tight, well insulated attic hatch

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

  • 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.

  • 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 new well-insulated exterior door.

  • Spot air seal and insulate your attic

    Attics are often the single largest source of heat loss in a home, due to both air leakage through gaps and holes, and 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Air seal your basement walls

    This is a common problem area in stone foundations. Seal air leaks with a professional spray foam gun. You’ll stay more comfortable, year-round.

  • 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. You can get duct sealant at your local hardware store.

  • 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. Figure out the size of your pipes (likely ½ or ¾ inch) and pick up some insulation and duct tape at your local hardware store.

How to do the Work

  • Air Sealing Tips

    Efficiency Vermont experts are here to help, with professional tips on how to seal common problem areas like windows, outlets, and doors.

  • Installing Storm Windows

    Learn the basics of installing a storm window. Explore different ways to repair and improve drafty windows.

  • Tips on How to Insulate Your Basement

    Efficiency Vermont experts are here to help, with professional tips on air sealing and insulating your basement. Locate common problem areas, and learn how to seal them. Then check out the different types of insulation that can work in a basement.

  • Tips on How to Insulate your Attic

    Efficiency Vermont experts are here to help, with professional tips on air sealing and insulating your attic. Learn where to find air leaks and how to seal them. Then we’ll look at various types of insulation, and how best to use them to combat the stack effect.

Vermont Stories

  • Cold Climate Heat Pump Saves Family $1200 a Year

    Meet Joel and Bonnie, who installed two ductless heat pumps in their home in Waltham, VT.

  • 90 Yr Old Vermont Farmhouse Converts Into an EHOME

    Meet the Borkowskis, a family of four whose Rutland, Vermont home was transformed into the energy home of the future.