5 Steps For An Energy Efficient House
Most of us could stand to make our homes more energy efficient than they already are, unless you’ve been through a recent renovation which had energy efficiency as its central theme. For everyone else, there are quite a few steps you can take to make your household more energy efficient. Drafty, inefficient windows can be replaced, doorways can be re-sealed and made weatherproof, and to find out all the ways you’re currently losing energy, you can have a formal energy audit conducted. You might be surprised at the results from this energy audit, finding that there are places throughout your household where you’re totally vulnerable, and which you may never have suspected before. Here are some steps you can take to improve the energy efficiency of your household on your own.
Assess your household hot water needs
When you’re evaluating the hot water needs for your household, it’s important to consider the size of your hot water heater as well as its general efficiency. Depending on the number of people you have in your household, and the frequency with which each of them uses hot water, you could have a huge variance in the amount of hot water which gets used, versus the norm. If your hot water heater is older than 10 years in age, it has probably already lost a considerable amount of energy efficiency, and you might want to think about replacing it. You may not have realized this, but your hot water heater is usually the second largest energy expense in any given household, so upgrading it could generate significant savings on your monthly utility bill.
Replacing old windows
The problem with old drafty windows is that the seal becomes damaged, and that allows outdoor air to come in, as well as permitting conditioned interior air to escape outdoors. If you can reduce or eliminate all these drafts, your HVAC system won’t have to work so hard at producing hot or cold air. Sealing your windows is one way to prevent this loss of conditioned air, but an even better approach might be to replace your windows entirely. While you’re at it, you can purchase some truly energy-efficient windows which will make your interior air conditioning or heating systems much more effective than they currently are.
Evaluate your HVAC system
By far, the largest user of energy in your household will be your heating or cooling system. If you’ve noticed that your energy bills have been rising steadily over the past several months, it might very well be that your HVAC system is becoming less energy efficient, and is working harder to condition interior air. You should take into account the age of your furnace or your air conditioner, and consider whether or not they are due for replacement. If so, there are a great number of really energy-efficient furnaces and air conditioners on the market these days which can save you a bundle on energy bills.
Adding additional insulation
One of the primary ways by which most homes lose heated or cooled air is through the attic and the roof. Adding extra insulation in your attic will prevent this from happening, and it will retain conditioned air in the interior of your home below. Regardless of how efficient your HVAC system is, you could still be losing heated or cooled air because your attic is not properly insulated. This is especially true if you live in an older home and you’re not sure of how much insulation you have up there. It’s definitely worth your while to check on the level of insulation in your attic, and add more to make sure that you retain conditioned air to the greatest extent possible.
Conduct a home energy audit
The surest way to find out where you are losing conditioned air is to conduct a home energy audit. This will alert you to where any energy leaks might be in your home, and it will evaluate current systems and efficiencies. You’ll also find out whether or not your home has an adequate level of insulation and sealing. The results of your home energy audit will alert you to some possibilities and opportunities where you might improve on your home’s energy efficiency. Once you know the prime areas which need to be addressed, you’ll be able to decide where you can get the biggest bang for your buck, and how you can achieve the greatest increase in energy efficiency for your money.