Ever since you moved to San Marcos, Texas, you’ve wanted to pay less in utility costs than you paid in your previous home and to build a home that exudes energy efficiency. While utility costs often feel out of your control, you can take action and watch those numbers fall. Take energy efficiency into your own hands by implementing simple but effective improvements in your home. Here are four home improvements that increase energy efficiency:
Insulate Problem Areas
The key to building energy efficiency is keeping air where it belongs. When you properly use insulation, it can trap conditioned air inside rooms and keep unwanted heat or cold outside. Containing temperature also helps the HVAC system efficiently maintain comfort. Even one under-insulated room can reduce energy efficiency.
Insulate the areas of your home that are lacking, such as your attic. An energy audit can also let you know if any wall cavities require insulation. Once you’ve packed those walls, you’ll quickly notice a difference in utility costs and overall comfort.
In addition to insulating unfinished areas of your home, think about other areas that could use improvement. This may involve spraying expanding foam around plumbing pipes and outlet boxes that have gaps around them or replacing loose recessed lighting with tighter fixtures.
Depending on how you use windows, they can either improve or reduce energy efficiency. For example, you can open shades or curtains on a cold, sunny day to let in warmth and give your heater a break. You can open windows during summer evenings to let in cool air and help your air conditioner. However, older windows often have leaks around them that let in outdoor air.
You can cover minor cracks with fresh caulk. But when the seals break, caulk won’t fix the problem. At that point, if you don’t replace your window, you’ll risk reduced energy efficiency and skyrocketing utility costs.
Replace an Old HVAC System
We all like to make things last as long as we can. Some of us still use flip phones and wear jeans a decade old. But the same habits won’t fly with an HVAC system.
After 10 to 15 years, HVAC systems start to drop in energy efficiency. Old HVAC systems are also less efficient at maintaining indoor air quality, which can exacerbate efficiency issues and lead to illness. You should consider replacing your HVAC system if your:
- System is more than 15 years old
- Energy bills spike without explanation
- System makes strange sounds and releases unusual odors
Replacing an old HVAC system can be a stressful decision. It’s ultimately a decision between investing in future energy efficiency and comfort or continuing to deal with rising utility costs.
Replace Leaky Ducts
Your HVAC system’s ductwork plays a significant role in your home’s efficiency. The problem is that over time, air leaks form in your ductwork. Those leaks allow conditioned air to escape and for unconditioned air to enter the home. That disturbs the temperature in your home and forces the system to work harder to maintain comfort. In fact, air leaks can waste up to 30 percent of your air.
It can be difficult to tell if you have leaky ductwork. You may have a leak in your ducts if:
- You notice more dust throughout your home.
- Your home takes longer to warm up or cool down.
- Your energy bills rise unexpectedly.
- You identify strange smells, which may be drawn in from outside via the leak.
The easiest way to find it is to schedule a duct inspection with your local HVAC service technician. If the service technician finds air leaks, consider repairing or replacing your ducts. You’ll not only improve your energy efficiency and cut your utility costs but also preserve your indoor air quality.
You don’t have to cringe every time you open your energy bill. Augment your home with these energy-efficient improvements, and you’ll enjoy greater comfort, health, and peace of mind. For a professional hand in improving your energy efficiency, call us at Wood Comfort Systems at 512-842-5066.
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