Energy-Saving Projects to Strengthen Family Ties, Reduce Stress

Include the family in these energy-saving, kid-friendly home maintenance tasks, and you’ll reduce stress while strengthening family ties.

For some home owners, regular home maintenance is a chore and bore. But for Dr. Michael Warren, cleaning gutters and demolishing walls are family bonding experiences and stress reducers.

“Fixing up your home is a perfect way to take your mind off your problems or stress,” the doctor says in his column for a Texas newspaper.

 We HouseLogic editors agree. And since October is Energy Awareness Month, we think buttoning up your home for winter is a great way to chillax, spend some quality time with family, and help your kids to become more energy aware. Here’s how.

 Hunt for air leaks

Air leaks around windows and doors suck out heat in winter and drive up energy bills – a good lesson to learn young. Light an incense stick and let the kids wave it along window and doorframes, electrical outlets, recessed lights and attic access doors and hatches. When the smoke wavers, air is leaking from the house.

 Caulk and weather strip

Kids will love plugging air leaks by spreading goopy caulk along door and window frames. They can also help youfix leaky windows by applying peel-and-stick weather stripping along doors, windows and attic hatches.

Clean HVAC filters

Teach your kids how to remove, clean and replace reusable HVAC filters, an easy but essential maintenance task. They can vacuum dust from filters, or spray clean them in a utility sink. Make sure filters are dry and in good shape before reinstalling.

If you’re replacing paper filters, teach kids how to shop for new ones. Show them how different filters address different tasks. For instance, HEPA filters are particularly good at filtering allergens from the air.

Vacuum grills and vents

Stage a hunt for heating grills and vents, and then let the kids vacuum off dust and dirt that makes your HVAC system work harder than it should.

Review monthly bills

Show your kids the energy bills, and compare how many weeks of allowance it would take to pay, say, the gas bill. Compare different months, so kids can see how price fluctuates with energy use.

Have a contest to see how much money your family can save by reducing consumption. Put savings into a vacation or movie night fund.

What home projects have you done with your kids or family?