Rick Miller, Jr. shows how to keep your loved ones warm this winter (and save money and energy).


In February, we featured Marylanders who are putting energy conservation and efficiency into practice for their families and communities. Rick Miller, Sr. and Rick Miller, Jr. represent the third and fourth generations of their family to run Zeskind’s Hardware in Baltimore. Still located in the original 1925 storefront on South Payson Street, Zeskind’s sells the caulk, insulation and weather stripping that people need to seal their homes against leaks. It is also a supplier for the retrofitting of older homes in Baltimore, such as through new, better-insulated windows.

Rick Jr. recommends the following energy actions for Valentine’s Day (or any time of the year), starting with the least expensive:

  1. Filters for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system ($2-10 each)
  2. Caulk/spray foam/weather strip against drafts ($3-5 each)
  3. LED light bulbs ($15-45 each)
  4. Motion sensor light switches ($25-40)
  5. Programmable/smart thermostat ($50-250)
  6. Blower door test/ home energy audit ($100 through some utilities, see mdhomeperformance.org for list)
  7. Attic insulation ($800-2000+)
  8. Duct sealing (cost depends on size of home and access to ducts)
  9. Heat pump/hybrid water heater ($900-1500 after Maryland Home Performance rebates)
  10. Whole house insulation package by professionals ($1500-2500 after Maryland Home Performance rebates) 

Find out more about Maryland Home Performance and ENERGY STAR® rebates at www.mdhomeperformance.org


Rick Miller, Sr. demonstrates weather stripping to seal out cold drafts. Zeskind’s hardware store dates to 1925.

Photo credits: Dave Harp