September 11, 2014
By Candice Skinner, marketing director of Home Energy Solutions, a TrustDale-certified company
How much of your money flies right out the window or through the roof each month? Do you even know? Most people are not are aware their home is performing badly when it comes to energy efficiency. Where do you even begin to figure out this information? Many companies, including your power company, may offer a free in-home energy audit so they can tell you exactly where your home needs work. Some companies do charge for this service, so do your homework and make sure you are using a reliable company that will educate you on this process at no cost.
An energy audit will look at all areas of the home such as the HVAC unit and surrounding plenums, your hot water heater and its settings, as well as insulation and the connecting pipes, attic insulation, roof ventilation, attic stair covering, windows and doors and their sealing, efficient appliance settings, garage door insulation, chimney sealing, outlet cover insulation and even the type of light bulbs you use.
If your home has uncomfortable rooms that you cannot properly control with your efficient HVAC system, you may have insulation issues. This does not mean that you need all-new insulation in your attic, although maintaining an R value of R30 or better is recommended. There are other options available such as reflective insulation. Reflective insulation reflects 97 percent of the radiant heat away from the attic before it ever enters the home. This will keep your attic cool in the summer and warm in the winter because it works reversely and deflects heat you are paying for back into your home.
If upgrading your insulation is not on your list right now or in your budget, there are some simple things you can do yourself to make your home more energy efficient. The first task is to seal around doors, windows and the chimney area. You can purchase caulk, weather-stripping and even a chimney balloon at your local home improvement store.
While you are there, pick up some insulated outlet covers. Insulating these HVAC air pockets can cut your utility costs down by 4 percent each year. Invest in a stair zipper door to seal the hot/cold coming down from your attic. Check your refrigerator settings. How cold does your freezer really need to be to freeze? We recommend setting your freezer to 5 degrees (which may help kill that ice cream freezer burn) and your refrigerator settings to 38 degrees. Making these minor adjustments can cut your bills another 5 percent.
Spend the extra few dollars upfront and purchase LED light bulbs. The LED light bulbs will last approx. 22 years and emit no heat. An incandescent light bulb emits 90 percent heat. True, it only costs about $1 but it’s heating up your entire house and killing you on watt usage each month and you will continually replace them. Think smart, and purchase wisely.
To schedule a free in-home energy audit, contact Home Energy Solutions and learn more about the weatherization process and how you can save up to 22 percent on your utility bills by making some minor changes around your home.