10 secrets to getting your home energy efficient

Insulation, sealing, and heating all play a vital role in helping you get your home energy efficient.

Here are 10 secrets to getting your home energy efficient:

1. Get R-Values of Insulation Right for the Particular Climate You Live In

The starting point for improving the insulation in your walls is to calculate what type of wall construction you have now and then check with local building codes before adding any additional layers of material or installing blown-in fiberglass insulation. Getting these details wrong can be disastrous! so take time to do it right. (Learn more about how much attic insulation you need.

2. Fix Leaks Around Windows and Doors ASAP; Stop Condensation on Glass — And Save on Heating and Cooling.

Sealing leaks is more than just saying, “It’s cold outside so I better turn up the heat.” The two main reasons for sealing leaks are 

1) to keep the heated or cooled air where you want it — inside your home; 

2) to prevent water vapor from leaking into or out of your house. Save on Heating and Cooling: While this may not seem like much, as much as 10% of a typical home’s heating dollars can go right out through window glass in the dead of winter! (This is because warm indoor air hitting window glass can cause condensation which then drips off onto an area that will freeze up.) One easy solution to minimize this loss is to install moisture barrier film on the interior side of your windows. This will trap less moisture and keep it from coming into direct contact with window glass (which can lead to condensation).

3. Insulate Your Hot Water Tank Properly

The tank is usually located in an unfinished basement area, so insulation around it should be relatively easy. There are many different types of insulating materials and systems you can use for this, but as a rule of thumb, you want to fill any voids around the tank with insulation. If you have an unheated basement area where your hot water tank is located, be sure to include that in your calculations.

4. Properly Size Your Furnace and Heat Distribution System

The furnace should match your home’s square footage – -not how many bedrooms or bathrooms it has! You can either hire a professional to perform this sizing for you or buy an EPA-approved calculator at any hardware store (there are many good ones available). Either way, don’t guess at what size furnace you need — get a professional opinion instead! [See our article on whole-house fans too.]

5. Add Extra Insulation in The Attic Over Likely Leaks or Draft Sources Like Chimneys

The longer the distance heat has to travel, the more you’ll end up spending on your heating bill. You can cut heat loss by adding extra insulation in places where heated air is likely to leak out.

6. Get Rid of Air Leaks with Door and Window Seals. You can Read Some useful electrical articles about this.

If you want to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency, sealing air leaks is one of your best options. And if you do a good job, you will literally see an immediate improvement in how comfortable your home feels – even though it may still be winter! Find and seal air leaks:

7. Buy Energy-Efficient Windows with Low E Coating and Argon Filling Instead of Single-Pane Glass One of our favorite tips for saving money on heating and cooling is to upgrade your windows.

8. Use a Programmable Thermostat Correctly A programmable thermostat can help you save quite a bit of money if it’s used properly… But, that’s the problem: very few people use them properly! As with anything, practice makes perfect. Get in the habit of adjusting your thermostat at different times each day (morning, afternoon, and evening). And don’t forget to turn it down when family members are away for long periods or sleeping overnight! Make sure you follow these tips for using a programmable thermostat effectively; and here’s more info on how you can use one to stay cool without turning up the AC dial too high.

9. Repair Leaking Pipes Quickly and Properly

Don’t let a small leak turn into a major problem. If your water bill seems abnormally high, have someone check your foundation and plumbing for leaks. A minor repair now can prevent thousands of dollars in damage later!

10. Work with Your Utility Provider to Reduce Your Energy Usage The local utility company will typically send out an energy auditor who can help reduce your home’s overall usage. This process is less expensive than you might expect, and the payback period on this investment can be as short as a few months! When choosing an energy provider or utility company, ensure they have North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification. Here are some other tips when working with your utility provider.

An energy audit is one of the best investments you can make to reduce your home heating and cooling costs. You may find that your home isn’t as insulated or energy efficient as you’d like it to be! And, if a professional finds problems with your system, they will be happy to recommend ways for you to fix them.

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