Monday, August 4, 2008

Improving Energy Efficiency of Your Home

One of the best ways to reduce air conditioning and heating cost for your home is improving its energy efficiency. Reducing air infiltration, reducing heat loss and reducing sun exposure can offer big savings.

What can be done now!

1. Reducing air infiltration (hot air coming in during summer months, cold air and drafts in the winter) is one of the most effective things to do to minimize heating and cooling cost. Simple things like re-caulking around windows and openings for piping, utilities, etc., repairing damaged seals around door sweeps and properly using window blinds or curtains can be a quick help. Small holes around windows or other siding penetrations can cause lots of leaking air. Leaking air means your expensive conditioned air gets more expensive. Simple tips such as keeping vertical blinds closed and pointing up in the summer and pointing down or open in the winter help with utilizing the sun. Window blinds pointing up in the summer minimize the amount of sun that sneaks through. Turning them down in the winter or opening them up let sunlight and heat in reducing the load on you heater.

2. Investigate home window tenting for southern or southwestern facing windows to minimize the effects of the summer sun.

3. Plant a tree! Yes a properly placed tree on the southern or southwestern side of the house can provide cheap shade during the summer. When leaves fall in the autumn, the barren tree lets sunlight through to help heat the house. As an added benefit, you have prime material for your compost bin!

What can we plan for!

1. Additional insulation. Forget the horrors of asbestos and asbestos cancer. Today’s insulation is safe, easy to install and effective. Whether it be additional fiberglass insulation or blown-in cellulose insulation made from recycled newspaper a weekend of work in the attic pays year-round dividends.

2. Energy efficient windows offer benefits to older houses. No more storm windows, no more sticking wooden windows. Today’s replacement windows are easy to install, easy to clean and no more painting! Some are even made to utilize your existing window frame.

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