Most homeowners don’t know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy. Much of our effort to warm our house is lost through improper or inadequate insulation and drafts. Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which homeowners can do themselves. To start the list are the many ways to insulate your home and keep accumulated heat from escaping. Of course, for homeowners who want to take advantage of the most up-to-date knowledge and systems in home energy efficiency, you may want to consider contacting an area energy auditor to perform in-depth testing to find the best energy solutions for your particular home.
Why do I want to make my home more efficient?
There are many federal, state, utility and local jurisdiction financial incentives, such as tax breaks, that are very advantageous for homeowners. By making your home more energy efficient, it saves you money (it costs less to power a home that’s been converted to be more energy efficient). The increased energy efficiency will also go a long way toward increasing the comfort level inside your home. Homes that are more energy efficient produce less pollution (conventional power production introduces pollutants that find their way into the air, soil and water supplies). As a direct result of reduced pollution, the impact on climate change is also reduced (many scientists now believe that excessive energy consumption contributes significantly to global warming).
Insulation is key
Sealing the openings that allow cold air to slip into your house—and drive up your heating bills—is an important first step in creating an energy-efficient home. Approximately one-third of a home’s total heat loss usually occurs through windows and doors. There are several ways in which homeowners can reduce energy lost through both of these areas. Sealing all window edges and cracks with rope caulk is a good first step. Doors can be weatherstripped around the whole perimeter to ensure a tight seal when they’re closed. Installing storm windows in place of windows that only have single panes can go a long way toward keeping conditioned air in and unconditioned air out. Repairing or replacing existing windows that have rotted or damaged wood, cracked glass, missing putty, poorly fitting sashes, or locks that don’t work can help as well. Homeowners who ensure that their homes are sealed and insulated well are much better off than those who do not, as this is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient. A tightly sealed home can improve comfort and indoor air quality while reducing utility bills at the same time. Because hot air rises, air leaks are most likely to occur in your home’s attic. Homeowners can perform a variety of repairs and maintenance to their attics that save them money on heating and cooling. Adding additional insulation can also help keep your home comfortable all year round.
Water heating uses an inordinate amount of water
Water heating is the second largest energy hog in your home (heating and cooling is the largest), typically accounting for anywhere from 14-18% of your home’s total energy costs. There are steps we can all take to bring this percentage to a much more respectable level. Repairing leaky water faucets is a simple but effective step. Limiting showers, whenever possible, to five minutes or less will greatly reduce the amount of money spent reheating the water in your water heater. When purchasing a new hot water heater, opting for an energy-efficient model is a huge help. Drain the water from the bottom of the tank at least every three months to avoid sediment accumulation and maintain energy efficiency.
As energy costs rise, you might be looking for ways to be more energy-efficient without breaking the bank. Homeowners who take the initiative to make these and other changes usually discover that the energy savings they realize are more than worth the effort. Whenever you save energy, you can save money while reducing your environmental impact. Here at Northeastern Fireplace & Design, we’re dedicated to the highest level of customer care and work hard to make sure our customers are fully satisfied. Our team is here to help you from the initial search to annual maintenance and repairs. We’re here to listen and offer unbiased advice, so that you can make a decision and a purchase that you can be confident in.