Insulation and Energy Efficiency Tips for Your Home and Attic
Making your home more energy efficient is an effective way to help the environment and save money. Energy consumption and most methods of power production contribute to global warming and pollution. However, making energy efficient upgrades can allow you to reduce your carbon footprint. Furthermore, upgrading your home to be more energy-efficient allows you to save on your energy bills and take advantage of federal tax incentives. Best of all, many ways to save energy are easy and affordable. Below we have provided some simple insulation and energy efficiency tips for your home and attic.
1. Insulate Your House and Attic
In order to gain optimal energy efficiency, your home’s outer shell—roof, floor, and exterior walls—should be well insulated. Effective insulation causes less energy to be used because it slows the rate that heat flows out of your house in the winter and into your house in summer. The better insulated your house, the less energy your air conditioner and heater need to use to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Rooms such as attics, basements, and garages are areas where drastic changes in temperature occur most often and effect the rest of your home. Since heat rises, attic insulation is vital to saving energy. Insulation levels are measured in terms of thermal resistance, called R-value. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation. Energy Star recommends that attics have an R-38 level of insulation. Depending on the type of insulation, this converts to about 10 to 14 inches of insulation.
2. Seal Air Leaks
Even if your house has adequate insulation, air can flow through gaps around doors and windows. Since these gaps allow warm and cool air to escape from your house, more energy is needed to keep your home at a consistent temperature. An easy way to save on energy and stop air from escaping is to caulk and weather-strip air leaks.
3. Replace Single-Pane Windows
Single-Pane windows have no insulation so outside temperatures easily effect the temperature inside your house. Therefore, you will end up paying more for heating and air-conditioning. To receive optimal energy savings, you should replace all your single-pane windows for double-pane windows at the same time.
4. Install a Demand-Type Water Heater
Instead of constantly producing hot water, Demand-Type water heaters (tankless or instantaneous) provide hot water only as needed. Furthermore, these water heaters deliver hot water quicker than traditional water tanks because they instantly heat water without having to fill and heat a storage tank with water.
5. Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
Although the initial cost of CFLs are more expensive than incandescent light bulbs, CFLs save you more money in the long run. According to Green Home Guide, CFLs can cost two to three dollars while an incandescent bulb costs about 50 cents. However, CFLs last about 10,000 hours and only use about $22 in electricity over their life span. Also, CFLs generate the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb while only using 27 watts. In contrast, incandescent bulbs only last 1,000 hours each and use about $80 worth of energy for 10,000 hours of electricity. If you don’t wish to replace all your incandescent light bulbs, consider replacing bulbs that you use most often.
6. Use Electronics and Appliances More Efficiently
InterNACHI explains that appliances and electronics consume about 20% of energy used in each household. By using the following tips, you can reduce the energy consumption of your electronics and appliances:
– Turn down your thermostat when no one is home and at night.
– Do not place your refrigerator or freezer near appliances that produce heat, such as the stove or dishwasher. Being placed in these areas causes the refrigerator or freezer to use more electricity to keep your food cold.
– Turn off your computer when you are not using it. If you must leave your computer on while unattended, shut off the monitor.
– When possible, use a laptop rather than a desktop computer because laptops use less electricity.
– Invest in ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and electronics. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency rate devices that are energy efficient as ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR appliances include televisions, refrigerators, water heaters, and more.
– Unplug your laptop and phone chargers when they are not being used. When chargers are left plugged in, they continue to use energy even if they are not charging a device.
These tips are a few examples of some great ways to make your home more energy efficient. By following these tips, you can be both an environmentally conscious citizen and save money on your next power bill.