Sufficient Insulation is Essential to Save Money on Energy Costs this Winter!
If you didn’t already know, October is National Energy Awareness Month. Now is the time to get your home ready for the upcoming winter months. Homeowners should make small changes and other things to help save energy, reduce energy waste and save money on electric bills. Although October is Energy Awareness Month, every month should be Energy Awareness Month!
Now is the best time to get your insulation inspected. Insulation deteriorates over time, it will become less efficient at insulating your home during the cold and hot months.
Some insulation professionals state that 2/3 of homes in the United States are not efficiently insulated. Having your home insulated properly and weather stripping your home can save you money on your electric bills.
Signs of Inefficient Insulation
One way of telling if you have insufficient insulation in your home is if you have trouble keeping your upper floor heated or cooled. Even if you don’t have this problem, it’s still a good idea to occasionally check your insulation.
Begin in your attic, insulation on the attic floor keeps heat from escaping as it rises through the attic. Experts say that if you can see the attic floor joists then you need more insulation.
It is easy for homeowners to go to their attic and check their insulation, but there are more difficult places to check, as in insulation inside your walls. In order to check the insulation in your walls you will need to hire a professional who can use infrared cameras to make sure you have enough insulation.
When you are adding insulation, make sure you ask about a recommended R-value, which measures the efficiency of the insulation. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation will work. The kind of insulation is also an important factor. Some types insulate better than others.
Energy Star recommends that you have an R-value of 38, anywhere from 12-15 in. of insulation. A higher R-value of 49 might be recommended for colder regions.
Be sure to do some research before hiring a company to do an energy audit or add more insulation to your home. You should ask friends and family who they recommend, check trusted online websites or you can call Air Rescue at 888-638-3792.
You can also add weather stripping to the edges of doors and windows to help reduce energy costs.
Every homeowner, every month strives to keep their heating and cooling costs as low as possible, while still keeping their home comfortable and safe. This is relevant to Home Performance.
HVAC, which stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, these systems make up a major part of your monthly electric bill. As we are in the midst of hot and humid summer days, Duke Energy is offering suggestions to increase the efficiency of HVAC systems during the rest of the summer. Duke Energy’s Smart $aver® product manager, Nathan Cranford, says that, “The energy you use to cool your home in the summer can account for half of monthly electric bills. Properly maintaining a home’s HVAC system can save you money and improve comfort in your home.” To increase the efficiency of your system during the hot summer, Duke Energy suggests the following:
Air Conditioning System
- During the hot summer months, set your thermostat to the highest comfortable setting. Energy Star suggests a minimum of 78F degrees. Changing the temperature by just a few degrees can cause significant savings on energy costs.
- Keep the coils on the exterior air conditioning system free of grass, dirt and leaves.
- New, high efficiency AC systems use about half then older air conditioning systems do. If your AC is under 10 years old, keep it, and keep it maintained. If it is older than 10 years, your best option would be to replace the old system with a new one.
- To keep a high performing and efficient system, it should be checked regularly by a qualified air conditioning and heating contractor.
- Replace or clean your air filters once a month, minimum. You can change it more, if needed.
- Humidity, especially in Florida, makes the AC unit work harder. While it may seem like a good idea to give your air conditioner a rest on cool nights and open up your windows instead, it might be a better idea to keep the windows closed to keep the dry, cool air inside. If it is supposed to be hot the next day, keep the air conditioner on and doors and windows closed to keep the humidity from getting inside.
Around the House
- Seal air leaks with caulking and weather stripping. Minimize door use to keep cool air inside.
- On hot, sunny days close blinds and curtains to block the heat from direct sunlight. This will reduce work for your air conditioning system.
- Turn off unnecessary lights and use energy efficient light bulbs. They will produce less heat and use less energy.
- Use ceiling fans or oscillating fans to circulate the air in rooms. Make sure you turn the fan off when you leave a room and remember, fans cool people, not rooms.
In the Attic
- If you have leaky ducts, they need to be repaired or replaced. If air vents are located in your home’s ceiling, the ducts run through the attic. Have a professional check and make sure you aren’t losing cool air into the attic. Proper functioning air ducts can save you up to 20% on cooling energy costs.
- Make sure you have sufficient insulation and ceiling cracks are sealed to keep cool air from escaping.
“Just as vehicles need to be tuned up regularly, HVAC systems should be serviced regularly as well,” said Cranford. “Implementing just some of these suggestions is a good start to lower you monthly energy costs and keeping your home cool and comfortable. This will ensure your air conditioning system runs efficiently.”
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