Improving your home’s energy efficiency provides the homeowner with many benefits. While there are usually upfront costs associated with larger improvement projects, the reward of lower energy bills is compounded by knowing that you’re helping, even if in a small way, to tackle the problem of climate change and the effect it will have upon future generations. Let’s examine seven ways you can take concrete steps towards improving your home, your finances, and your world.
It’s not enough to heat and cool your home — you want to keep it warm or cool once you’ve got it that way. Energy losses through your windows and doors can be a significant factor in your heating and cooling costs —as much as 30% of home energy use — so it makes sense to start your energy efficiency improvement program with this step, particularly if your home is older.
When choosing windows, be sure to check their energy efficiency ratings. In particular, look for Energy Star certifications and compare NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) ratings across the range of windows you’re considering. When buying windows for colder climes, gas-filled double-pane windows reduce heat loss, while in more temperate locations, windows with low U-factor ratings do a better job of blocking solar radiation from heating up your home.
No matter the windows you choose, be sure to work with experienced installers who are trained to work with the windows you’ve chosen. Proper installation will ensure the best fit and seal and will ensure that you reap all the energy-saving benefits of the windows you’ve chosen.
Why heat or cool your home when you don’t need to? Programmable thermostats let you utilize your HVAC system on a schedule that works for you. Lower the temperature at night when you’re sleeping or while you’re away at work during the winter, or raise the temperature when the home is unoccupied in the summer. Either way, you’ll save money and energy. The new generation of smart thermostats makes it easier than ever to tailor your heating and cooling to your liking, right from the touchscreen of your smartphone or tablet, whether you’re home or away.
The radiation of the sun hitting your roof can raise the temperature of your home dramatically in the summer, and the loss of heat through your roof in the winter will mean your furnace will have to do even more work during a cold snap. A smart way to lower the effects of solar heating and winter heat loss is to add more insulation to your attic. Attic insulation can consist of fiberglass rolls, loose-fill insulation, foam boards, vapor barriers, or spray insulation. Whichever type you choose, increasing the R-value of the insulation in your home’s attic will pay off in improved energy efficiency.
Your HVAC system is a major energy user in your home. It stands to reason that you want to maximize the performance of this vital part of your home’s infrastructure. There are some basic steps you can take to ensure that your HVAC system delivers peak performance.
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Warm air rises. This elemental fact isn’t always a convenient one when it’s winter and your warm air is at the ceiling, rather than down where you want it to be. Ceiling fans circulate the air around your room, pulling warm air down to where you want it. And during the summer, ceiling fans keep air moving and help keep you cooler, even when you are using the AC. With our help, you can have a ceiling fan installed in place of an existing ceiling light fixture, or even where there isn’t an existing electrical outlet.
If you start with a furnace, air conditioning will be an important add on. If you’ve already got a central furnace system and want to add AC to it, you’ll need to be sure that these portions of your system are ready for the addition.
When you pay your water bill, do you think about the energy required to heat that water for showers, clothes washing, and more? If not, you may be using a lot more energy in your home than you need to. Fortunately, there are some smart ways to drop your energy requirements while still enjoying that nice hot shower. It’s important to remember that hot water heaters have a limited lifespan, so you should seriously consider replacing yours every 10 years or so. And when you take that step, it’s a good time to upgrade to a model that’s more efficient. There are some other options to consider as well.
Consider going tankless. Tankless water heaters heat water on demand, so you don’t have the energy cost of heating a large quantity of water and keeping it warm. The efficiencies of tankless models really kick in when your household uses smaller amounts of water, so they’re a great upgrade for small households
Add a solar water heating system. Using the energy of the sun to heat your water is an excellent way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Solar systems can be a very smart choice if you live in a sunny climate and have a south-facing roof.
Learn more about hot water heater options here:
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WATER HEATER FOR YOUR HOME
Your old dishwasher, washer, or dryer could be a real drain on your home’s energy usage. Older models of dishwashers and washers not only use more electricity than current models, but they often use a good deal more water as well. Add in the energy used in heating that water and you’re experiencing a real case of double jeopardy. When it’s time to replace an appliance, whether it’s a washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, or more, look for models that are Energy Star certified.
When you’re deciding how to best improve your home’s energy efficiency, remember you’ve got a team of professionals at Enoch who can help you get the right gear and get it installed the right way. Whether it’s hooking up a new washer, installing new windows, or wiring a ceiling fan, contact our team and we’ll figure out the best way to help you. Quotes are free, so get in touch with us right away.