If your home is a brand new home or has seen dozens of families come and go, they probably have one thing in common. You want to make sure that they are designed to save energy for you and your family. Why would you want it to save energy you ask, well because that will save you money? If you are looking for a very energy efficient home then new constructions are the way to go. They are usually built with energy efficiency in mind. However, not everyone lives in a new build, or has the money to buy one. They are more often than not, sold at the top of market value with little room for negotiation.
Reduce Air Loss to Make Your Home Energy Efficient
Regardless if your home is old or new there are many different things that you can do to ensure that your home is energy efficient. Make sure that you reduce air loss. You do this by making sure that your home is properly sealed. One of the biggest problems that we see with older homes. If your cool or heated air is constantly escaping the home, then the HVAC is going to be working hard to keep your home cold or warm. Some common areas that you can find air loss is:
- Cracks around the foundation
- Cracks and gaps around the chimney
- Window AC units
- Plumbing and electrical pass throughs between wall interior and exterior
- Doors and windows in the home and garage
- Poorly insulated attics
A common misconception about insulation is that it is an air barrier. It is not. Insulation is there to reduce the loss of warm or cool air. Its job is not to keep air in entirely. Make sure to have your insulation inspected to make sure that it is doing its job, and if it needs to be replaced or upgraded.
Insulate Your Plumbing
Insulate your plumbing and be sure to adjust the thermostat on your water heater. It is very common in older homes to have plumbing that goes through uninsulated parts of the home. When hot water goes through these areas it is cooled and that means that you are using more hot water to take a shower or wash your dishes. If you insulate your pipes you can turn your thermostat down to 120 degrees. Most are set to 140.
Install Storm Windows
Another way to make your home energy efficient is installing storm windows. These windows have a laminate coating, which makes them decrease air loss and have noise reductions. These windows also help reduce moisture inside your home. If you live in particularly warm or tropical areas you can have windows installed that have various degrees of tinting. These reduce the sun damage to the interior of your home. This will also help minimize heat in your home from the sun.
Upgrade Your HVAC
Another big way to make your home energy efficient is to upgrade your HVAC system. This is especially good if you have an older unit. Or if your current unit seems too large or too small for your home. A unit that is too big for the home is more costly in terms of energy usage. One that is too small works very hard to keep the home cool. If the unit is constantly running to keep a home cool it is not going to be very energy efficient. Before you upgrade your HVAC though, make sure that you have done the other steps to make your home more energy efficient. Other simple things you can do to make a more energy efficient home include:
- Making sure that your furniture is not blocking any of your air vents in your home.
- Having a preventive maintenance inspection performed on your HVAC system every year (once before winter and once before summer)
- Keeping your HVAC filters clean and changed as necessary and making sure your ductwork is clean and free of cracks or other damage
- Install a programmable thermostat, which gives you more control over the heating and cooling options for your house
- Let dishes and clothing air dry as often as you can, rather than using the dishwasher’s drying setting or using your clothes dryer
- Unplug all your electrical appliances, chargers, gadgets, and other items when they are not in use (an unused phone charger still uses electricity if it is plugged in)
- Use the sun to do the work for your HVAC system; open the curtains on sunny winter days and close them on sunny summer days
- Use area rugs on tile, laminate, and wood floors to keep your feet feeling warmer on cold days
- Change the direction of your ceiling fans in winter and summer (counterclockwise for summer and clockwise for winter) to circulate heated and cooled air most effectively
Saving money is always one of the goals of any homeowner. These tips will help keep your home energy efficient. When you reduce your energy consumption and have an energy efficient home you cut back on your utility bills. Many changes cost nothing at all, just a change in lifestyle and that is the first step towards energy efficiency today!