Sunroom: Let Sunlight In, Save Energy

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Everyone is looking for ways to conserve energy, whether it is through the use of hybrid vehicles, energy-efficient lightbulbs, bicycles, or public transit in place of a personal vehicle. Being aware of the effects each of us has on the environment and our energy costs is crucial. Natural sunlight is the most regenerative and cost-free energy source. Here are some suggestions for a sunroom that might help you save electricity while comfortably soaking up the intense natural sunlight of summer days.

Set Up An Acrylic Roof System

There are several benefits to installing an acrylic roof over your covered porch. It provides protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays while simultaneously allowing natural light to show through thanks to its translucent surface. It is sturdy enough to withstand hail and powerful storms, and even if it sustains damage, the solid panels won’t break. It takes almost no maintenance and is simple to install. The sunroom will remain cool, sunny, energy-efficient, and attractive thanks to an acrylic roof system.

You may save a lot of energy by converting your porch into an enclosed sunroom that can be used as a living space, office, or reading room. But for a homeowner to undertake the renovations might be a major headache. Therefore, employing a qualified expert is beneficial. See some of our prior work in our before-and-after gallery. Once you’re certain, get in touch with us and let us know which energy-saving components you want to have put in your sunroom. You can get a free estimate from us.

Install Energy-Efficient Windows

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Sunrooms are largely made of glass windows by nature. But it’s vital to remember that not all windows retain heat equally. familiarize yourself with the glass’s U-factor solar heat loss coefficient. The window will be more energy-efficient the lower the U-factor. The U-factor of single-paned windows is too high for them to be effective glass windows, and as a result, the room will be overheated and stuffy. Look for windows that block the sun’s UV rays while reducing heat. By doing this, you will conserve energy and ensure year-round comfort in your sunroom.

Use Ceiling Fans

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Sunrooms offer a beautiful view, but even with energy-efficient windows, they can get uncomfortable hot during the warmest days of the summer. Consider adding a ceiling fan to keep the space comfortable and cool. In addition to lowering your utility costs, this will help you stay cool on those scorching Texas days by generating a breeze. To move warm air upward through the room in the cold, consider turning the fan’s blades in the opposite direction.

Insulate Properly

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Proper insulation is more crucial to keeping your sunroom pleasant throughout the chill of winter and the intense Texas summer. Weatherstrip all of the room’s frames and make sure all cracks and leaks are completely sealed. When the harsh temps arrive, you’ll be glad you took this precaution.

Tips for Air Conditioning Unit Upkeep

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Regular maintenance keeps your air conditioner running efficiently and reduces expenditures. Continue reading for additional advice on maintaining your air conditioner. Air conditioners require some maintenance to function properly. Fortunately, AC repair involves a lot of do-it-yourself projects.

1. Inspect Unit Annually

Your local dealer or the one who set up your central air conditioning should put you on a regular maintenance program that includes more than just changing the filters.

Schedule this checkup for before the cold season begins or perform it right away. Include the following chores in your checkup:

  • Monitoring pressures and refrigerant
  • Checking the operational temperatures
  • Filter maintenance or replacement
  • Examining safeguards and controls
  • Maintaining and inspecting fans and blowers
  • Changing and adjusting fan belts
  • Examining and cleaning coils

2. Let Adequate Air In

Too many internal doors closed will throw off the balance of the central air conditioning system, reducing the amount of airflow throughout the entire house. Instead, leave the doors slightly ajar if you prefer some privacy.

3. Clean or Replace Filter

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Installing new filters each month in the cold season will increase the efficiency of your central and window air conditioners. If your filters are washable, you may also clean them. For household air conditioning systems, look for the filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value or MERV, which goes from 1 to 12. The higher the number, the better filtration it offers.

4. Keep the Air Cool by Insulating

To make the air inside ducts cold, they should be enclosed in humid attics or crawl spaces. Use foil tape to seal the battery and solid insulation. Wraps provide some insulation for confined places.

5. Fix Leakage

Window air conditioning units are notoriously difficult to properly seal, and ducts can lose up to 30% of their airflow through leaks. Use the time-tested smoke method to detect leaks.

Hold an incense stick at the duct lines for central air conditioning; ignite an incense stick and place it right where the window frame and unit meet for window units. If the smoke spreads, there is a leak. For smaller gaps in ducting, use foil tape; for larger ones, duct mastic; for window air conditioners, place foam between the unit and the window’s frame, taping as necessary.

6. Maintain Your Condenser or Compressor

The air compressor and condenser of a central air conditioning system are often placed at your home’s foundation, outside the building. Get rid of any neighboring bushes, grass that is too tall, leaves, and dangling branches because it functions best when there is around 24 inches of clean space in all directions.

7. Keep Your AC Unit Cool

If your windows have treatments like blinds or shades, keep them drawn during the day to prolong the life of your air conditioning system. You may also install awnings to protect south-facing windows from harsh sunlight. To more efficiently move cooled air, think about using the AC alongside floor or ceiling fans.

8. Install Timer

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While you are at work, there’s no need to crank up the air conditioning. Install a thermostat that is programmable for central units so that you can set warmer temperatures when you are away and colder temperatures when you are home.

Thermostats and timers are already integrated into newer window units, or you can purchase one for $10 to $20 at any home store; just make sure the voltage is right for your device. Do not turn off the system unless you are going on vacation.

9. Get an Efficiency Upgrade

Federal regulations mandate that AC units be much more energy-efficient than they were even ten years ago. The statistic is known as the seasonal energy-efficiency ratio, or SEER, for central air conditioning; it is known as the energy-efficiency ratio, or EER, for window units. Although a SEER of 13 and an EER of 8 are required by the requirements, equipment with greater figures will be less expensive to operate.

Which Sustainable Home Type Is For You?

There are several benefits whether you are thinking about custom building or purchasing a sustainable home. Many features and advantages of sustainable homes cannot be found in traditional home construction. However, a sustainable home requires a lot of work, and we reckon that it may be challenging to sort.

There are many various methods that home builders and owners try to make their homes sustainable. Here are a few of the most typical methods used to construct sustainable homes.

Container Homes

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A sustainable home made out of repurposed shipping containers is an additional alternative for housing that homeowners should think about. Because they make use of recycled materials and used containers that are being thrown away, these homes are far more affordable than other models.

You will discover that many of these various sustainable home designs share common traits when you begin to research them. Here are some things your environmentally friendly home should have.

Zero Carbon Homes

A net-negative carbon footprint yearly is the goal of a zero-carbon home. This indicates that they will generate energy from renewable resources such as solar panels while simultaneously being very an energy-efficient home.

When paired with renewable energy systems, zero energy (or net zero energy) homes feature an energy-efficient appliances. Over the course of a year, their total power generation minus the total energy used is equal to zero.

Zero-carbon homes operate with no net emissions of carbon dioxide. This indicates that over the course of a year, the residence will use as much electricity from carbon-emitting sources as it does from renewable ones.

Prefabricated Homes

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These green homes are constructed in factories (with ready-built walls, interior doors, kitchen sink, windows, cupboards, etc.) which are then delivered to the construction site, where they are put together there. The theory behind such green homes is because they come together considerably more quickly, they can be more economical, energy-efficient, and less harmful to the environment. Because they are only actually exposed to the weather for about two weeks while being constructed on site, these homes can also be sturdier and built better.

Tiny Houses

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If you are a planning to go “nomad” and is environmentally concerned, tiny homes might be the type for you. These eco-friendly homes typically range in size from 9 to 40 square meters (100-400 square feet). They are frequently constructed on trailers to be readily relocated and offer their owners an excellent mobile living option. Small homes have many benefits, including the ability to live clutter-free, cost savings from having less room which lowers monthly electricity bills, and less of an impact on the environment due to its small size. A tiny house is a terrific choice for a lifestyle that conforms to minimalism. Having a small footprint is nothing to be terrified of; some apartments are merely 400 square feet.

Energy-Efficient Doors and Windows

Energy-efficient door and windows will minimize heat loss in the winter or summer in a warmer region, and they will also block moisture that can cause mold or mildew growth.

Sustainable Water Supply System

You must keep in mind that your eco-friendly home has a water supply system that is sustainable whether you utilize rainwater collecting, water filtration technologies, or sustainable architecture. This usually means that you will need a well nearby for your house.

Green Roofing

Another excellent option to create a sustainable home is by installing a green roof. There are many ways to use a green roof to improve your home. Another excellent technique to make use of your roofing and extend the life of your house is to collect rainwater.

Insulation

The ideal insulation for a sustainable home is high-efficiency insulation. As a result, you should make sure that your home has R50 of insulation throughout. Although it may be expensive, doing this will have a massive effect on the amount of energy your home requires to warm and cool it.

Source of Renewable Energy

Sustainable housing is elevated to a whole new level with the aid of renewable energy. Your sustainable home will have the power it needs to function off the grid while you are away for an extended period of time thanks to solar panels or other alternative energy sources. Solar energy is the most widely used renewable energy source, however geothermal and wind power are also renewable sources.

Save Money from Insulating Your Home

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By improving the insulation in your home, you can save money and raise its market value. Fun things abound in the fall months, including joyful holidays, vibrant foliage, and the first comfortable snowfall. But what about one less enjoyable feature? Rising energy costs when the weather cools and the thermostat is turned up.

As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling use up around 50 to 70 percent of a home’s energy budget. Your home may not be adequately insulated, which is one of the major causes your energy costs may increase throughout the winter (and summer, too, when the air conditioner is running). A sustainable home is also better for the environment. A home that is insulated well is a certain way to keep your utility costs under control. So how does insulation in homes lower energy costs? Let’s look at it.

Is Your Home Insulated?

As per North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), 90% of homes in the country are not insulated enough, so there is a good possibility your home needs some improvement. The best approach to tell if your insulation is enough is to assess it and compare its R-value to that of the United States.

You can check the insulation of an unfinished ceilings or walls, or you can remove the cover from an electrical outlet and explore the wall hollow around it. Just see to it that electricity is off for safety reasons. Additionally, physical indications of inadequate insulation should be sought out such as temperature differences from each room, soaring energy bill when using your HVAC system, drafts that come from windows, doors, or dry vent.

Best Space You Should Put Insulation

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You will have the greatest idea of where to concentrate your insulation upgrades after you do an energy assessment of your house. Although it is safe to assume that the attic is where to start in the majority of homes especially houses that are constructed before the 60s.

To safeguard the living areas below, insulation should be placed above and between floor joists. Additionally, you should check the insulation levels in any exterior walls, walls separating the house from unheated area and floors above unheated areas. Sealing drafts from your dryer vent, fireplace, window and door frames, and other places is also essential.

Cost Of Home Insulation Compared to Energy Savings

While some people might object to the cost of good insulation, the investment should be worthwhile.
According to the EPA, installing insulation in attics and basement can help the average homeowner save up to 15% on cooling and heating expenditure. A household would save roughly $200 a year with this. You can calculate the savings you’d see over time after improving the insulation in your home because the typical price of insulation ranges from $0.20 to $0.50 per square foot. Furthermore, A house with good insulation typically sells for more money.

Upgrade Your Insulation Now

For the majority of homeowners, improving a home with inadequate insulation is worthwhile. It is a home upgrade that will save money on energy costs and increase the value of your home, plus it has the added advantage of lowering emission of greenhouse gas. Think carefully and practically. Consider your options and create a strategy that will guarantee you a home that is adequately insulated and sealed.

Keeping Your Room Warm With Curtains

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If one winter utility bills are exorbitant, you may need to make some modifications to your room’s thermal mass. The cash you invest on electric bills can be limited if you are wise enough to utilize the facilities allocated to you.

Shutters can help us make a space humid by continuous existence inside the house rather than making it possible to fly through the windows. During the winter, you lose a significant amount of heat through your windows. Often these people, however, are unaware of this simple fact.

The changes you make to your shutters and when you open and close them can have a significant impact on how much money you save on your electric bills. If you’re not sure if your window will keep the room warm, keep reading to learn how curtains help with warmth.

How Do Curtains Help To Keep A Room Warm?

The answer is simple; the shades serve as a wall between the cold and hot air passages. The temperature escapes through the windows, enabling the cold to infiltrate.

All double windows cannot prevent all heat from exiting. Nevertheless, by wrapping heavy curtains over your window, you can preclude heat from leaving the room and keep it warmer and cozier. Curtains cause resistance, so that some heat particles will still escape, but on average, most heat particles will encounter the hindrance and will be unable to flee the room.

In addition to that, the amount of sunshine you allow in during the day is important. The more and more sunlight you allow in every day, the lower your electricity bills will be. This will keep the room warm and dry for longer, and you will save money on electricity bills if you use light from the sun as your primary heating and lighting source. The smart way to retain heat in the room and keep it warm for longer is to close the curtains as soon as the sun sets. This prevents heat molecules from escaping and cold particles from entering the room. The curtains will act as the ultimate shield between the two, preserving the room warm for an extended period of time.

What Amount Of Heat Can Curtains Keep?

Curtains serve as an insulating material, forming a thick barrier that prevents cold and warm air from combining and making the room colder. Choosing the proper curtains for your home is critical if you want to stay warm, make your home warmer, and save money on power bills. Insulating material curtains include a lining at the back to help with insulation. It reduces airflow while also reducing noise. If you can’t find insulating material curtains, recommend introducing another layer to your curtains, which will also add insulation. The back lining does not have to be big and clunky, and it can be cloth or cotton to keep your stylish curtains looking and feeling good.

How To Select The Best Curtains To Keep Your Room Warm

There are many different curtain materials available, a few of which are excellent for keeping the room warm. Here is another buying guide for the best heat-retaining curtains.

1. Blackout Drapes

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Blackout curtains are primarily used this to keep the room dark, but they are also excellent at keeping the room warm. The primary function of the blackout curtain is to keep brightness out of the room. People are also used to keeping the room private. Blackout curtains, on the other hand, keep the room warmer than typical curtains. Blackout curtains retain heat better than traditional curtains and can help maintain almost any room warmer.

2. Thermal Drapes

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Thermal curtains work better than blackout curtains at maintaining the room arm and preserving heat. They are particularly designed to keep the heat in the room from escaping.

The rigid foam insulation inner surface of most heat curtains gets warmer during the day and warms the space at night. Blackout curtains, on the other hand, reflect light and soak up as little heat as they can. Curtains with temperature lining are also less expensive than black curtains. Be cautious when purchasing thermal curtains as well; many individuals will market blackout curtains as thermal curtains, but in numerous cases, this is not the case.

They are most efficient at keeping the heat in the room. They are also excellent at keeping cooler air out and preventing it from combining with warm air inside. But even so, they are not at a lower cost; relying on the cloth and appearance you choose, thick fabric curtains can be very costly.

Go Green: Achieving a Sustainable Home

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A remodel provides the perfect opportunity to make green updates since areas of the home are likely already cleared of furniture; studs, wiring, and pipes may become exposed; and the contractor is already there to work.

For homeowners, there are three main objectives to focus on when incorporating sustainability into a remodel; Resource conservation, energy efficiency, and a healthy indoor environment.

Thanks to major advances in both selection and performance, homeowners who are interested in tackling these challenges have a wide variety of products and methods they can incorporate into their renovation projects. Still, to gain in one area you might have to give up part of another.

In this article, we are going to discuss the basics of green updates that an experienced builder can execute for you to help you save money on your utility bills and support the environment in the process.

Before your contractor starts ripping out sheetrock, get your ducks in a row with the following preliminary and key steps:

1. Conduct an Energy Audit
First, conduct an energy efficiency audit with a blower door test and thermal imaging survey. Check your lighting, appliances, venting heating system, and water heater. You can audit yourself, but the best way to really find out what’s going on is to hire an energy audit contractor. A certified assessor can conduct an energy audit and give you a rating on your current energy usage, as well as make practical suggestions for improving efficiency. The Department of Energy’s online tool can help you find an assessor in your area.

2. Research and Brainstorm
Next make a list of materials, appliances, fixtures, and surfaces that will go into your project. Search the web or call or visit local vendors to see if there are green options and locally made choices for those options. Find a contractor who has a green building certification indicating he/she has training in this area.

Common Energy Efficiency Upgrades

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Windows

When you’re adding or getting replacement windows, you can boost their energy-saving abilities by installing windows with features to keep heat out in summer, and in during winter. These include double or even triple panes, high-quality frames of vinyl, fiberglass, or wood, low-e glass coatings, gas injections between panes, and pane spacers. Intelligently located, large windows and “no-leak” skylights can also be used to light rooms such as the kitchen and remove the need for turning on the lights during the daytime.

Photo: Forbes

Solar panels

Doing roofing work or adding to your home? Then you might consider incorporating the gold standard for energy efficiency: solar panels, or even solar shingles, the newest entrant to the photovoltaic products industry. Some roofs aren’t big enough or angled properly to make a solar installation worthwhile, but if you’re renovating, you may be able to design the roof to get the perfect orientation for your panels to capture the most sun rays and maximize their output. You could also choose shingles made of recycled material.

HVAC and Smart Thermostats

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With your home properly sealed up, you can also take advantage of a remodel to move in a new air conditioning system and/or furnace that’s high-efficiency. These systems have variable speed motors that optimize airflow while better controlling humidity. Pair the new system with a smart thermostat such as Nest that automatically adjusts the temperature in your home based on your schedule to prevent energy waste when you’re away.

Appliances

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Speaking of water heaters, renovations make a great time to switch to newer appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Energy Star-certified products can save as much as 50% of the energy of non-certified appliances. In the store, look for the Energy Star sticker, which will tell you the operating cost of the appliance, to get an idea of how much you could save.

Plumbing

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A tankless water heater saves water by providing instant hot water, eliminating the need to run water to warm it up and the energy to keep hot water on standby in the tank. Installation is fairly complex, requiring re-routing piping, wiring, and connecting to a gas line (for gas models). That is why a bathroom remodel makes a perfect time to switch from a storage tank heater.

In addition, if your pipes are going to be exposed during the remodel, insulating them will reduce heat loss as the water travels from the water heater and provide additional water and energy savings. New eco-friendly taps, showerheads, and toilets can also cut down on your water usage, as well.

Insulation

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Once your home audit results are in you can target those places where the air is entering and escaping the home. Caulking and weather stripping spots of air leakage need to happen before adding insulation in walls, windows, doors, or the attic, because it may need to go on top of any areas that need sealing. A radiant barrier is another attic upgrade that helps block heat from entering through the roof, reducing the strain on your air conditioner. For new attic and wall insulation, you could opt for fireproofed recycled denim, which is manufactured in a zero-waste process.

Caulking: Alternative to Save Energy

Air leaks around windows, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), waste a significant amount of energy. Normally, experts would suggest getting energy-efficient window replacement. It is the best way to get rid of leaky windows and guarantees energy bill shrinkage in the long term. On the other hand, caulking is also recommended as one of the simplest and least expensive ways to conserve energy and lower utility bills. While window caulking is a do-it-yourself project, the EPA recommends hiring professionals for ductwork or any other part of your home that you are not comfortable doing yourself.

What is Window Caulking?

Photo: Home Stratosphere

You can purchase silicone caulk or acrylic latex. It may be found in a tube or in a disposable cartridge that fits into a caulking gun, and this is the type of supply recommended for anything larger than a small space. Some manufacturers also produce high-pressure cartridges that do not require the use of a caulking gun. Spray cans or tubes may also be available in small jobs.

Before purchasing caulk, you should be aware of the following possibilities:

1. If you need the finished result to match a specific color look for acrylic latex that can be painted.
2. You cannot paint caulk but it is available in a variety of shades. Latex typically lasts longer than silicone.
3. If you buy classic cartridges, you can use about half of one cartridge for each window.

What Are the Advantages of Caulking Windows?

Heat escapes through air leaks in the winter and enters your property in the warmer months. In either case, you will be forcing your HVAC system to function harder than what it needs to, potentially reducing the amount of time with both calling for renovations or even acquiring new units. Your system will consume more energy as it works harder. As a result, you will overpay the energy company. Simultaneously, your system cannot keep you as satisfied as it could in a well-sealed and insulated home.

The EPA approximated that somehow this simple venture could save an average home 10 to 20% on energy costs and would cost most folks no or more than $30 and a longer period of time to complete. Because it is a relatively simple task, professionals usually charge reasonable fees for this service as well.

Even though the holes do not go together all way through, they can still lead to severe problems. Rainfall can get into the space for both walls, wiring as well as insulation. Aside from water leakage, you may also have electrical problems and mold. Window caulking can help you save a huge amount of money and keep you more comfortable for a quick, inexpensive job.

Where Caulk Should Not Be Used

When you learn about all of the advantages of window caulking, you may become enthused about these basic ways of conserving energy and saving money.

Caulking-styled windows or above windows can cause serious damage since they are already designed to hold away the excess moisture.

When Should You Caulk Windows?

Photo: Home Stratosphere

When installing new windows or if you notice any obvious gaps or holes around your existing windows, caulking should be a top priority. Check the condition of any existing caulking. Latex caulk seems to break over time. Any caulk may begin to separate from the frame and window. You should re-caulk at that point.

Furthermore, if you’ve never seemed to have caulked your windows, then you should make an investment in a small amount of money in a task that will help you save energy and money.

Consider the following tips for detecting difficult-to-find air leaks:

1. Examine the exterior of your home for areas where multiple opposite kinds of substances meet, such as around window frames.
2. Examine the panes for cracks or holes.
3. Examine the existing caulk for damage.
4. Tap or lightly shake your windows to see if they rattle.
5. Examine any areas where you sense a pocket of cold air when you’re close to the window.
6. Open a window and place a scrap of paper on the window ledge so that you can close it. If you can easily pull the paper out, you know you don’t have a tight seal on the lowest part.

Start Caulking

Caulking also must start taking no more than few-hour shifts and a little money. As a result, you may have decreased electricity bills and enjoy a draft-free home. Whether you do it on your own or hire a well-skilled individual, you should see immediate returns on your home improvement investment.

How to Self-Energy Audit

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An energy audit of your home is simple to perform on your own. A quick but thorough walk-through can allow you to identify a lot of issues in any kind of home. Keep a record of the areas you have examined and the issues you discovered when auditing your home. You can use this list to prioritize your energy-efficiency improvements.

Look Into Lightings

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Your power cost for lights typically uses fifteen percent of your energy budget. Check the bulb wattage in your home. You probably have 100-watt bulbs or greater where 60 to 75 watts would suffice. For spaces where lights are left on for extended periods of time, you should also take into account compact fluorescent lamps. For buying energy-efficient lamps, your electric utility may give rebates or other incentives.

Check for Air Leaks

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Air leaks should be checked in windows and doors. Try to shake them if you can, as movement could indicate air leakage. When the area surrounding a window frame or door is lit up, the door or window is leaking. Usually, caulking or weather-stripping will stop these leaks. Make sure the storm windows fit properly and are in good condition. You could also want to think about buying new, energy-efficient windows and doors to replace your old ones. If purchasing brand-new windows or doors that are made in the factory is out of your price range, you can cover the windows with cheap plastic sheets.

A simple building pressurization test may be useful if you are having trouble finding leaks.

Close all windows, doors, and fireplace flues outside first. Turn off all combustion-based equipment, including water heaters and gas furnaces. In order to remove the air from the rooms, turn on the exhaust fans which are typically found in both the bathroom and kitchen or utilize a sizable window fan. By increasing leakage through gaps and leaks, this test makes it simpler to find them. To find these leaks, use your damp hand or incense sticks. Using incense sticks will result in the smoke wavering while using a damp hand will result in any drafts feeling chilly to your touch.

Probe Insulation

If the insulation levels drop than the advised minimum, your home may experience a significant loss of heat thru the walls and ceiling. Your home’s constructor most likely used the recommended quantity of insulation at the time it was constructed. The degree of insulation may not be appropriate given current energy rates and likely rising prices in the future, particularly if your home is older.

Photo: Pricewise Insulation

Check to ensure if the attic hatch is weather-stripped and closes securely. Check the attic to see if any holes for chimneys, ductwork, or pipes are sealed. Fill up any gaps using an expandable foam caulk or another type of long-lasting sealer. Verify that insulation is not obstructing the attic vents. Additionally, you need to insulate the whole attic floor with the suggested quantity of insulation and seal the ceiling’s electrical boxes with flexible caulk.

It is more challenging to assess the insulation level of a wall. Choose a wall exterior and remove the fuse from any in-wall outlets. By plugging in a working lamp or portable radio, you can check sure the outlets are not “hot” by testing them. Start removing a cover plate from any outlet once you are certain that none of your outlets are receiving any electricity and use a long stick thin enough to get through or a screwdriver to carefully check into the wall. You are guaranteed to have insulation there if you experience a small amount of resistance.

Inspecting Heating/Cooling Systems

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Annual inspections of heating and cooling systems are suggested, or as specified by the manufacturer. Check your furnace filters. Replace them as necessary if your HVAC system has a forced-air part. Generally speaking, you ought to replace them every month following, especially during times of excessive usage. Once a year, have a professional inspect and clean your equipment.

You should think about upgrading your system with a more recent, energy-efficient model if it is older than 15 years. Particularly if the current equipment is in bad condition, a new unit might significantly lower your energy consumption. Look for dirt streaks in the ductwork, especially close to seams. These are signs of air leakage and need to be fixed using duct sealant. Any ducts that pass across unheated areas should be insulated. The minimum insulation R-Value that is advised is 6.

Understanding Energy Efficiency and Conservation

Although energy efficiency and conservation could be associated, they are defined differently in the energy sector. Energy conservation entails modifying your actions and habits to use less energy while energy efficiency is utilizing technology that uses less energy to carry out the same task. Large home appliances, energy-saving lightbulbs, and smart thermostats are just a few technology examples that are considered energy-efficient.

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Energy Conservation

Energy conservation is the practice of making efficient use of the existing energy supplies. Less material is utilized in this method to conserve energy. By conserving energy, one can achieve a number of advantages, including cost savings and ecological harmony.

According to the law of conserving energy, energy can only alter its state; it cannot be brought into existence. When doing a task, energy can take on different forms. For example, when devices are moving to complete a task, this requires energy and can occasionally result in energy waste. Energy waste can be prevented with the aid of reducing emissions.

There are several ways to improve energy efficiency. By using this technique, one can prevent the loss or destruction of forthcoming power generation. This approach can be put into practice by improving the energy-intensive materials one uses, keeping everything in harmony to prevent energy waste, utilizing technology breakthroughs, etc.

Photo: The Spruce

We have gathered some energy-saving suggestions you may implement right away.

Set Refrigeration Temp Down. Up to 13.7 percent of the total household energy use is used by refrigerators. Set your freezer to 3 degrees Fahrenheit and your refrigerator to 37 degrees to save even more energy.

Clean or Change Air Filters. Most homes’ top energy consumers are the heater and air conditioner, which are forced to work harder by clogged air filters. To assist you to remember when the filter needs to be replaced, mark the installation date on it.

Fill Up Washers. To get the most energy-saving use out of each run cycle, fill up the washing machine and the dishwasher.

Use Smart Strip. Household electronics continue to drain power from plugs even while not in use. The term “phantom load” refers to this phenomenon. Using energy-saving smart power strips can help you reduce phantom-load costs, which could lead to financial and energy savings. These power strips turn off equipment that has been placed in standby mode.

Let Everything Dry in the Air. Let the dishes air-dry rather than utilize your dishwasher’s drying function. And on a good day, allow your clothes to dry outside rather than using the dryer.

Designate Burners. Use the tiny burners on your stove for little pots and the larger burners for pots that are larger to save electricity.

Look for Air Drafts. Don’t let the money go to waste by having to pay for cool air during the summer and warm air when the cold season comes. Look for gaps and cracks in your doors and windows, then caulk or fresh weather-stripping them shut if you are not yet looking to get door or window replacement.

Control Temperature at Home. It is best that when the time comes that the temperature changes, you are ready. Choose to dress in lighter clothing during the summer while dress a few more layers during the cold. As a general rule, set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, 68 degrees in the cold season.

Energy Efficiency

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Energy efficiency is the method of replacing energy-intensive equipment with less energy-intensive ones rather than reducing energy consumption altogether. Energy efficiency is a notion that has several benefits for people. By applying energy efficiency, you can use non-renewable sources of energy in place of often employing renewable sources of energy.

Some people perceive efficiency as a more costly way of conserving energy. That is when they get wrong. Yes, you might have to pay more upfront for your daily living to be energy-efficient but you are actually saving money in the long run. You save energy without compromising any task.

Energy efficiency can be practiced with just simple actions.

Choose LED Lights. LED lights, which use less electricity at about 75 to 80 percent, can be used in place of inefficient incandescent bulbs.

Use Electric Cars. Most energy-efficient automobiles consume lesser fuel to travel a certain range. Utilizing electric cars is another practical energy-efficient choice.

Replace Doors and Windows. Although it is cheaper to do repairs on leaky windows, you might not be able to notice it at first but frequent repairs can damage your wallet more than eyeing to replace windows with energy-efficient ones.

Ways to Achieve an Energy-Efficient Home

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By taking cost-effective steps to lower building loads and then installing appliances that are of the proper size to handle the lower loads, you can save money and boost performance. Oversizing generally lowers performance and raises expenses.

The best way to increase your home’s energy efficiency is to start with the envelope of your house, which includes the doors, windows, and walls. Next, make systems like lighting, heating, cooling, and appliances more energy-efficient. Finally, take into account clean energy production methods like solar or geothermal.

Go Green

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Good landscaping, especially deciduous trees, can save energy if your home is older with relatively weak insulation and windows, especially if they are situated on the west side of the building. Infrared radiation would take the chill off the house in the summer, but in the winter, the bare branches allow this heat to pass through. Of course, the impact is significantly reduced if your home has excellent insulation and energy-efficient windows because the building shell itself already prevents practically all heat gain.

Upgrade Old, Leaky Windows

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It could be time to replace old, leaky windows at your home with new, energy-efficient ones. The cost of replacing windows solely to save energy is nearly never worthwhile. EnergyStar.gov states that replacing windows can reduce costs, however replacing single-glazed windows would result in the biggest savings. The update would be affordable and would also make you more comfortable. Energy-efficient windows are also easy to be installed so you do not have to worry about remodeling your walls in case you have decided to replace your old windows because not much construction will be done.

Get Your Walls Insulated

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Effective insulation reduces the rate at which heat is lost from the home during the winter or gained during the summer, requiring less energy to cool or heat your home. Blown-in insulation can significantly increase your comfort and save you enough money on energy if your home lacks wall insulation and has relatively continuous wall cavities like typical stud walls. Adding insulation to already insulated walls rarely pays. If you have an unfinished attic, it usually pays to improve the insulation.

The knowledge of your contractor is more crucial than the type of insulation you select. Fiberglass, cellulose, and the majority of foam insulation materials, when put correctly, can all lessen the conduction of heat in the finished wall system. In principle, contractors utilize a thermal imager in the course of or following the installation to search for voids.

Dump Incandescent Lights and Use CFLs

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Three-quarters less electricity is required by Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) than by incandescent bulbs. The majority of people do not consider the fact that running a lightbulb requires significantly more electricity. A new CFL costs approximately $2 or $3, but it has a lifespan of 10,000 hours and consumes just around 27 watts to produce light comparable to an incandescent bulb that is 100 watts. It costs roughly $25 overall because it consumes about $22 in energy over the course of its lifetime. It takes ten 100-watt incandescent bulbs, which cost $5 to purchase but only last 1,000 hours for a dollar, to last 10,000 hours. You will be using 1,000 kW of energy during those 10,000 hours, which, at the national average price, will be around $80. Therefore, the CFL’s lighting cost is less than a third of what an incandescent bulb would be. Because usage influences how much time it spends to recoup the expenditure, bulbs that are 60 to 100 watts used for several hours a day are the best candidates for replacement.

Unplug Old Refrigerators

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Avoid the urge to store party goods and beverages in the old refrigerator as a backup. You’ll pay more for the extra storage space: add an extra $50 to $150 in electricity costs a year to keep that old refrigerator running. In comparison, considering the efficiency of a refrigerator has increased so much over the past three decades, a new fridge may only cost $30 to $60 per year to operate, especially if it is Energy Star-rated. Evaluate the amount of refrigeration you actually need in these conditions. The greatest tip is to keep your refrigerator to one and make sure it is the right size for your needs.

Look for Energy Professionals to Audit

Energy raters analyze your home using specialist equipment and expertise, and they make recommendations for the most economical ways to increase its convenience and efficiency including the optimum order in which to implement those measures to benefit from interactions. The rater may also offer an unbiased opinion of the caliber of the job performed by the contractors. Look for RESNET-accredited raters.