Attic - Walls - Floors - Basement - Crawl Space - Insulation
Jan212013

How to Be Energy Efficient

Published by Rease at 5:42 PM under Blog

There are so many ways to improve your home, whether it is during new construction or after construction has been completed. There are simple, inexpensive ways to make your home more efficient, which will not only save you money on your utility bills, but also minimize your carbon footprint. Here are a few tips on how to be energy efficient.
 

Let's break it down.

The four basic categories we need to look at are: insulation, air sealing, HVAC, and baseload. We'll take a look at what we can do to help, as well as what you can do on your own. All these steps will get you well on your way to a more energy efficient home with lower utility bills.
 

Insulation and Air Sealing

Over the past 20 years, Affordable Comfort has made over 10,000 homes more energy efficient. Of those 10,000, we can count on one hand how many houses had the proper amount of insulation installed before we began working on them. Chances are, your home could use a serious insulation update. The issue is, building codes are not really up to par with what would make your home energy efficient. The builders rarely want to go the extra mile and spend the extra money to provide your home with quality insulation.
 
It's the same story for air sealing. You may notice that certain areas of your home are draftier than others. Many people write this off as something that cannot be helped, but that is far from true. If you invest in updating the insulation and air sealing in your attic, you will feel an immediate difference in your home's comfort level. Plus, you'll see lower bills within the first billing cycle after your repairs.
 
Band sill insulation is another area of your home that has a very high return on investment. Band sills are the set of boards that sit on top of a foundation wall and run around the house. To better insulate band sills, we use a closed-cell 2-part spray foam insulation.
 

HVAC

 

HVAC equipment often comes with the home and simply sits there until it ceases to work. Just because your air conditioner, heater, water heater, etc is functioning, does not mean it is functioning efficiently. HVAC equipment generally has an expiration date of around 20 years, so if you are nearing that mark, you should take a look at how your equipment is functioning. You may want to consider updating appliances early and switching to something with the Energy Star logo, which guarantees a more energy-friendly system. If you don't have the extra room in the budget to replace everything at once, start replacing one or two appliances per year. The return on investment you see from the new Energy Star rated appliances will most certainly help fund any further updates.
 

What is baseload?

 

 Baseload is any energy use outside of heating and cooling. Basically, this is the amount of energy you use in your home during the months that neither your air conditioner nor heater is in use. Things such as refrigerators, lighting, small appliances and water heating are combined to create your baseload. Lowering your baseload will, of course, lower your energy use overall, so it's a good idea to take steps towards lowering it. The good news? Lowering your baseload is easy to do on your own.
 
Once again, switching to Energy Star rated appliances will be a huge help. You can also install energy efficient lighting in place of incandescent light bulbs. In fact, this will soon be mandated and incandescent light bulbs will cease to be manufactured, so you might as well switch over now. To save on water heater costs, you can lower your water heater by a few degrees and install low-flow showerheads and faucets. You will most likely barely notice a difference in your showers, but you will be saving a significant amount of money on water and water heating costs. Even installing a simple insulation blanket around your water heater will have a noticeable impact on efficiency.
 

What else can you do?

Outside of lowering your baseload, you can also make some simple air sealing changes to help keep conditioned air within your home. Visit your local hardware store and pick up some sealing supplies, then seal up your windows and doors throughout your home. You'll notice that the air near these windows are doors will feel similar to the air in the rest of your home. The sealing keeps the conditioned air in, and the outside air out.
 
If you are serious about becoming more energy efficient and aren't sure where to begin, give us a call. We can come out to your home and perform an energy audit that will let you know exactly where your home stands, as well as make recommendations. No obligations. Give us a call at 314-209-8700 or send us an email at info@affortablecomfort.biz.