6 Energy-Efficient Home Improvements for 2014
Start the new year on the right foot by improving the energy efficiency of your home
If you aren’t happy with how much you spent on utilities last year, now is your chance to make some changes that should result in lower bills for 2014. In order to know which of the following 6 energy-efficient home improvements will deliver the best result in your home, it is highly recommended to get a home performance audit from the experts at General Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll go over every inch of your HVAC system and building envelope with you and identify any cost-saving improvements that could help your home become more energy-efficient. The following 6 improvements are a good place to start.
Seal Doors & Windows
Cracks and gaps around windows and doors are significant sources of energy loss in many homes. If you want to improve your home energy efficiency, make sure your doors and windows have good tight seals. If it’s time to upgrade to new windows anyway, consider windows with wood frames rather than aluminum ones, since wood is a better insulator.
Some experts have estimated that half of American homes are underinsulated. Since lack of insulation can cause your home to lose heat in the winter and absorb heat in the summer, naturally you want to make sure you have sufficient high-quality insulation in your home. Attic insulation in particular is often lacking. Watch out for degraded insulation in homes more than 30 years old.
Seal Duct Leaks
Duct leaks are another major contributor to poor home energy efficiency. In addition to letting heated or cooled air escape before it reaches its destination, duct leaks can also introduce dusty, dirty air into your living spaces. Simply sealing up duct leaks can improve your energy efficiency by 25 to 40 percent.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
In most cases, you can add a programmable thermostat to your existing HVAC system for as little as $30. A programmable thermostat can more than pay for itself in energy savings by helping to prevent waste. For instance, if you are away at work all day you probably don’t need to keep your AC set at 70 that whole time. Instead, you can program your thermostat so that the AC shuts off when you leave in the morning and then kicks back on a few hours before you normally return home. This will save energy without affecting your comfort.
An HVAC system that allows you to create separate zones within your home can also deliver big savings on your utility bills. For example, you might have different zones for each floor of your home. Because you can set different temperatures for each zone, you can avoid heating the downstairs while you’re upstairs asleep.
Upgrade to an ENERGY STAR System
If you have a furnace that is over 15 years old or a heat pump or air conditioner that is over 10 years old, you can probably reap significant energy savings by upgrading to a new, high-efficiency model. ENERGY STAR appliances in particular are certified to deliver excellent energy efficiency.