An energy-efficient home is something we should all strive for. We are lucky to be living in an age that is filled with technology and innovation. With new transportation efficiencies, useful apps, and smart home technology, it is easier for everyone to live a streamlined life. However, there are still ways that people can reduce their carbon footprint, save money, and help the environment. Even small changes can make a major difference in the health of the planet and your pocketbook. There are a few simple steps that homeowners can take to make their homes more energy-efficient.
#1 – Lower the Thermostat While Away from Home
One of the most common sources of energy waste is an HVAC unit that runs while nobody is at home. If there is nobody in the building, the HVAC unit shouldn’t be running as often. In order to fix this problem, invest in a smart home thermostat. Set the thermostat to drop two to four degrees during the winter and summer. The goal is to have the HVAC unit run as little as possible while nobody is home. However, if you have cooling issues upstairs when you are getting ready for bed, please start cooling a few hours earlier so the system can remove the humidity. According to Energy.gov, a shift by even one degree during the workday could have one percent savings on your annual energy bills.
#2 – Seal the Gaps in Your Attic
Another common reason why the HVAC unit runs unnecessarily is that there are sources of air leakage throughout the home. A common culprit is the framing, electrical, plumbing penetrations on the attic floor. Recessed lights and attic hatches can also be exchanging air with outside. Before adding insulation, it is wise to air seal all of these penetrations. You want your air barrier where you have your thermal barrier (insulation). Sealing gaps and cracks is a great way to reduce energy costs. It is better to keep heat and air inside the home instead of letting it leak to the outside.
#3 – Add Insulation to the Attic
Those who want to take even more steps to reduce their heating and cooling costs should consider adding insulation to the attic. Even though there might not be any leaks or cracks, hot and cold air can still affect the temperature of the attic which will then impact the interior of the home. One of the ways to stop this from happening is to add insulation to the attic. Think about it, you wouldn’t go outside in the freezing cold with a windbreaker, you’d get the thick jacket off the wall. While this will require an upfront investment, this investment will pay for itself in short order when people marvel at the reduction in their utility bills.
#4 – Ensure your registers are open for business
Your HVAC system duct system pushes air into the rooms and then pulls the air out (after heating or cooling a bit), filters it, and then heats or cools it and then this process happens over again. Make sure that the air coming out of your supply registers aren’t impeded by furniture, toys, or other items that block the flow.
When we close or have blocked supply registers we change the balance of air. Imagine taking a deep breath and then only allowed to expel the air very slowly. Imagine doing that every minute. What does that do to your body? Is it really an effective way of breathing? No, of course not.
#5 – Get a Home Energy Audit
This is one of the most important steps that homeowners can take to help them lower their energy bills, improve the quality of their indoor air, and reduce their environmental impact all while living in a more comfortable house. Some of the parts of a comprehensive home energy audit include:
- Performing a blower test to see if there are any air leaks in the home, which could be increasing stress on the HVAC system, driving up utility bills
- Using advanced imaging techniques to look for issues in the home’s building envelope
- Comprehensive testing of the home’s combustion equipment to ensure that it is operating safely and efficiently
- Verifying the HVAC system and ducts are operating effectively
All of these steps will lead to a comprehensive energy audit report. This lists the best home energy improvements for a home, based on the information uncovered by the audit. This is a streamlined, efficient, and comprehensive way for everyone to make their home more energy efficient.
Conclusion: Make an Energy-Efficient Home
Even though there have been countless advances made in science and technology, many homeowners are still reluctant to make changes that could make their homes more energy efficient. An energy-efficient house is not only good for the environment but can also reduce the frequency of home repairs while also lowering utility bills. Therefore, every homeowner should take a look at their property to see what changes they can make to improve the energy efficiency of their home. A comprehensive home audit can help make this happen.