5 Ways To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
The temperatures are quickly rising and if your home is not energy efficient, your heating and cooling bill will be rising as well.
Many newer homes (built since 2003) have products and materials that are more efficient that previous generations but not even all of those are up to par. If your home is a bit older, chances are things like doors, windows and maybe air conditioning units need to be upgraded. If you do in fact have a home built within the last 10 years you may be in good shape on those major items but could look at a few other things in your home that could make it cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and less expensive to run all year.
The first step in this process is not to run to the nearest box store and start buying everything in sight with an Energy Star logo. Take a good look at your home from top to bottom and really give it a good assessment. Do a little homework first by looking online and knowing what to check for on the Energy Star site for helpful advice and tips. Common sense will tell you most of what you need to know, like if you have a leaky sliding glass door or your windows are single pane, you know that those need to be upgraded at some point. However, there are numerous things that are available to make your home more efficient with many being relatively simple and inexpensive.
2. Seal and Insulate
Sealing and insulating the “shell” or the exterior of your home – the outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors and floors – is the most crucial part of the energy upgrades. Keeping the home comfortable and cost down starts with sealing all air leaks to stop drafts and to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. Most likely your walls or ceilings do not have leaks and if they do, that is a whole different conversation, but your doors and windows are second to none as far as retaining heating and cooling.
Replacing single pane windows with energy efficient vinyl or fiberglass windows with low E glass can block 70% or more of the solar heat gain in the summer and reflect radiant heat indoors during winter. The same goes for doors. If you have single pane glass in your doors or single pane sliding glass doors, replacing them with fiberglass doors with Low E glass will make a significant impact.
You can do some things right away yourself to get a good start. Go outside and caulk around doors and windows around the part where the frame meets the exterior casing or finish. Also go in the attic and crawlspaces and use spray foam such as Great Stuff to seal any areas that are letting in air.
3. Look at your HVAC system
As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Make smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills. The average household spends more than $2,200 per year on energy bills, so it piles up fast.
If your system is more than 10 years old, you definitely need to look at the possibility of replacement. If you can’t replace, getting your unit serviced is a must. Regardless of the age of your system, maintain the proper service and you will benefit in the long run. Also make sure that your air ducts are in good shape and are clean. If the ducts are not clean or have any damage, the rooms in your house may be different temperatures.
4. Leave the thermostat alone
Pick a number that you and the spouse are comfortable with and leave it there. This can be an issue for those people that like the house 70 degrees and the spouse wants it 78 degrees, but if you can find a happy middle ground, you will enjoy some savings at the end of the month.
Install the thermostat away from the heating and cooling registers, appliances, lighting, doorways, fireplaces, skylights and windows and any other areas that get direct sunlight or heat. Use a programmable thermostat for each zone of your house if you have multiple heating and cooling zones. This will help you maximize comfort, convenience, and energy savings.
5. Add Insulation
There are many types of insulation available that can help your home but do some research and find the best for you and your home. Fiberglass, cellulose, foam board and spray foam have been around for a while and now a new product, Eco-Shield, a radiant barrier blanket that was developed by NASA can stop 97% of the Radiant Heat Transfer through your attic. A reflective foil insulation that is clean and lightweight, Eco-Shield is maintenance free and provide instant benefit ot your home.