Your home, much like your body, is an interconnected series of systems that work together to keep you comfortable. When one system is lacking efficiency, it will affect the other systems, reducing overall energy efficiency in the home. If you’re looking for ways to lower your energy bills, take a look at each system in your home and make improvements that will ensure each system is doing its part to ensure overall energy savings year round.
The HVAC System
Your heating and cooling systems work all year long to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Maintaining these systems is essential for their safe and efficient operation, and maintenance should start with an annual tune-up by a qualified HVAC technician, which will extend the life of the equipment, help ensure safety, reduce your carbon footprint and save you money on heating and cooling your home.
In addition to professional maintenance, there are a few DIY tasks that are critical for ongoing efficiency. These include replacing the dirty air filter to ensure optimum airflow, and installing a programmable thermostat for optimizing comfort and energy savings.
Leaky ducts can quickly negate any savings you might get from having an efficient HVAC system. The typical home loses between 20 and 40 percent of the conditioned air in the ducts to crawlspaces and areas under the floors and behind the walls. Seal leaky duct joints, and make sure the seals between the ducts and registers are intact.
Insulate ductwork that runs through spaces that don’t need heating and cooling, such as crawlspaces and the attic. Insulation will help maintain the temperature of the air inside, and will help prevent mold and mildew growth due to condensation.
The Building Shell
No matter how efficient your HVAC systems are, a leaky home will end up costing more to heat and cool. Sealing air leaks will increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment. Seal leaky doors and windows with weatherstripping and caulk, and apply expandable caulk to larger gaps around pipes, vents and service entrances that penetrate exterior walls.
The attic can reach temperatures of up to 160 degrees in the summer, and can be well below freezing in the winter. Adequate attic insulation is essential for an energy efficient house. Shore up the attic insulation to a depth of 15 inches. Use insulating batts with a rating of R-38. Seal around the attic door or hatch with weatherstripping to help keep cold and hot air from leaking into the rooms in your home.
Appliances and Lighting
With increasingly high electricity rates comes the need to reduce the amount of electricity you use on a daily basis. Replacing older appliances in the kitchen and laundry room with Energy Star models will considerably reduce the amount of electricity you use, and using appliances efficiently by taking advantage of optimal cycle and water settings on the washer, dryer and dishwasher will go a long way toward conserving energy.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. These high-efficiency bulbs consume 75 percent less electricity than traditional lights, and they last up to six times longer. They also burn cooler, which helps reduce summertime heat gain.
For more expert tips on improving the energy efficiency of your whole house by optimizing the efficiency of its systems, please feel free to contact us at Comfort Control, Inc.