Did you know that you can quickly and easily lower your air conditioning and heating bills by using some common-sense insulation tips you probably already know how to do? Nothing will do more to save you on heating and air conditioning than taking action to make sure you home is insulated properly and completely.
The idea of insulation is to create a layer of protection between the climate-controlled areas of your home and the great outdoors. Your walls and windows and part of your insulation, but they’re not all you need. Exactly how much insulating and weatherproofing you need to do to your home depends on how the house was built and what kind of conditions your home is subjected to. If you live on windy hill, for example, you can’t afford to cut any corners with insulation.
It’s best if insulation is addressed at the time of the home’s construction, but the job isn’t always complete. Plus, weatherproofing deteriorates over time. Even if you live in a poorly insulated or older house, you still deserve to be comfortable and happy in your home. And you can take action that will decrease your energy bills while increasing your comfort.
How much you save depends on how bad the problems with your home are and how much effort and time you put into solving them.
So what can be done? Consider these ideas.
Small Changes, Big Results
These small changes can be made in a half hour or so and make a real difference. They include:
- Close those windows and doors when the AC is on. You’d be surprised how many people don’t bother to do that. But this simple change in your lifestyle will make more difference than all the weatherproofing you can manage.
- Adjust your thermostat just 7 to 10 degrees and save as much as 10 percent on your energy bill. Think that will leave you uncomfortable? You may be surprised that you’re using your HVAC system more than necessary. You want it on the most modest setting possible to stay comfortable.
- Change the water heater temperature and cut down on the money drain from heating your water to a higher temperature than necessary and heating it when you’re asleep. Turn it down about 10 degrees and you probably won’t notice the difference anyway. Consider a tankless water heater or a water heater programmer for even more savings.
- Try using curtains more often to shut out the effects of the sun’s very hot rays in the summer. And close those drapes at night in the winter so that your valuable heated air doesn’t escape through your inefficient windows.
Look For Cracks In The Strangest Places
There are cracks in your home letting out conditioned air that you may not even realize exist. Where? Consider these places:
- Around your recessed light, which probably vent to the attic and allow air to escape a place you don’t need it. The more of these recessed lights you have, the more air you’re letting get away, so seal them properly.
- In flues and chimneys, if you don’t have a modern chimney liner. Building code usually requires a gap between wood framing and metal flues, but these gaps can be sealed for energy savings and greater comfort in your home.
- At attic entrances, especially if you have pull-down attic stairs, which leave little room for insulation around them. There’s usually a small gap around the pull-down door that few people bother to insulate. Special kits are available for this purpose, but they’re expensive. Use caulking and foam weatherstripping instead.
- At plumbing pipes and vents, where expanding foam can do a great job plugging up the gaps that exist, no matter their size.
- At electrical boxes on exterior walls, where caulking and special insulated plate liners can make a real difference.
And this advice just scratches the surface, really. Go over your home with fine-toothed comb and you’ll soon find plenty of places you can tighten up to save you hundreds or even thousands in energy over the life of your home.
Need some help? Call us at Element Mechanical for information on how to make your home even more efficient with a better HVAC system.