Uncover Easy Savings in Your HomePublished on: June 11, 2014
If you are worried about an anticipted rise in your utility bills as the temperatures rise, there are some easy and affordable steps that can help. While more efficient HVAC equipment can improve your home’s energy performance, you may not be ready to upgrade. Instead, ease the burden of your existing equipment by reducing issues like energy loss.
Leaks and drafts can be a subtle but serious source of energy loss. Fortunately, these are easily addressed with inexpensive materials like caulking and weather stripping. If you’ve never checked your windows and doors for leaks, take time to visually inspect sealants, replacing old, brittle products with fresh materials. When you notice drafts, take time to pinpoint them and seal related leaks.
Increased Insulation Levels
While too much insulation can cause problems with overheating in your home and roof, inadequate insulation promotes energy loss. A quick visual test is to observe whether your attic’s floor joists are visible above existing insulation. If you can see the joists, add more material. Combined with proper sealing of air leaks, this step can save you as much as 10 percent of home comfort costs.
Cover Your Windows
Energy-efficient windows reduce but don’t eliminate the effects of direct sunlight on your home’s cooling load during the summer months. They can represent approximately one-fourth of your cooling energy needs. Basic windows that are unglazed can represent up to 40 percent of cooling energy. The use of window coverings can reduce these issues significantly. Use insulated curtains, solar screens, or blinds to curb the heat gain during summer and heat loss during winter. These measures are particularly helpful on windows facing south, east and west. Shutters, awnings and shade trees can also help in reducing heat gain. Many of these solutions are inexpensive.
Move the Air
Ceiling fans are effective at moving the air in your home without much energy usage. As the air circulates, it makes temperatures in the home feel cooler. You don’t need to operate your fans when a room is empty because the fans don’t change the actual temperature.
Take time to inspect the ventilation equipment for your roofing system as well. Check vented soffits to be sure that airflow through your attic isn’t impeded. Birds and other critters may use these areas for nesting, and it’s important to inspect these spots to protect the health of your roofing system and the efficiency of your home comfort equipment.
Evaluate Your Thermostat Settings
Do you change your settings on a whim? Precise temperature control can make a huge difference on energy bills. Replace an older thermostat with a programmable or wireless model to make better choices in controlling indoor conditions. ENERGY STAR recommends a setpoint of 78 for summer months and 70 for winter months. Simple adjustments for daytime, evening and sleep time allow you to keep your home comfortable without extreme energy usage and costs. By programming these changes, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to make adjustments.
Check Your Ducts
A duct inspection can provide information about leaks and dirt. Duct cleaning can remove materials that may impede airflow through your home. Identification of leaks can provide you with the information needed to make repairs and cut energy costs. Leaky ducts can account for 20 to 40 percent of your home comfort energy usage, and duct sealing services may dramatically trim the related bills.
One of the most important measures involved in reducing energy costs is having your system inspected, cleaned and fine-tuned each year. Both heating and cooling equipment can lose efficiency through normal wear and tear, but these effects can often be countered through cleaning, lubrication and basic adjustments. An optimized system tends to operate more efficiently, keeping your home comfort costs minimized.
If you are challenged by the performance of your home comfort equipment or by high energy bills, an HVAC expert can provide an energy performance evaluation or assist with important maintenance services. You can contact us for assistance in finding a Southeast U.S. contractor in your community for these and other important home comfort needs.