Why not make a resolution for saving money by increasing your home’s energy efficiency? Not only will it benefit your budget, but it will do good things for the planet, and create a more comfortable place for you as well.
Deal with the HVAC System Get your heating system serviced. Not only will it run more dependably, but it will also use less energy. If your system is covered by a warranty, annual service may be a requirement to keep it valid. Make it a point to check the air filter every month or two during the heating and cooling seasons. A clean air filter promotes energy efficiency, lowers energy costs, and prevents needless wear on the equipment. Replace your air conditioner during the offseason if you’re planning on buying a new system next summer. You may get discounts on the appliance as well as its installation by having the work done during the winter. Make Your Home More Efficient
The cooler months are a good time to deal with drafty windows and inadequate attic insulation. Check the window frames for any gaps and cracks that let air in or out and seal with caulk. The panes may also be …
For consistent, efficient heating and cooling to all parts of your home, as well as a healthy indoor environment, air balancing is a vital part of the solution.
Air Balancing 101
A typical residential HVAC system, consisting of separate supply and return ductwork, circulates over 1,000 cubic feet per minute of conditioned air throughout the home. The system is carefully designed to match blower output with ductwork size and length, so all rooms receive appropriate air volume to maintain the thermostat setting. Air balancing is the process that makes that happen.
Why Air Balancing Important When system air volume is unbalanced, certain rooms get too much heating or cooling while other rooms—particularly those located furthest from the central furnace or A/C—don’t get enough. Thermostat adjustments to make those distant rooms comfortable typically end up making the closer rooms too warm or too cold. An unbalanced system also results in longer furnace or air conditioner cycles, which raises operating costs and wear and tear on system components. Air imbalance can also depressurize the house. The ideal indoor air pressure balance should be positive in every room. This means supply ducts deliver slightly more air volume than return ducts take out. In …
A radiant barrier keeps your house cooler by keeping radiant heat out of your attic. A major source of household heat infiltration is often the overheated attic just the other side of your ceiling.
Temperatures inside an enclosed attic increase on a sunny summer day as solar heat penetrates the roof and heats air trapped in the attic. Attic temperatures can soar as high as 150 degrees. This reservoir of heat radiates through the ceiling into cooler living spaces. The influence of attic heat can raise temperatures in rooms directly below by as much as 10 degrees. This, in turn, causes your air conditioner to run longer cycles to maintain thermostat settings, increasing your monthly cooling costs.
Attic insulation helps impede attic heat passing through the ceiling. However, insulation can’t prevent radiant heat from over-heating the attic in the first place. A radiant barrier is a foil-coated material typically stapled to roof joists within a few inches of the underside of the roof. Alternatively, the material may be draped across the joists in the floor of the attic, atop existing insulation. Radiant energy entering through the roof is reflected back into the roof sheathing and then re-radiates to …
At first glance, the yellow EnergyGuide label you see on new home appliances may seem a bit confusing. The bar graph is simple enough, which indicates how an appliance’s efficiency compares to others. However, other information may not be so visually easy to decipher, such as SEER ratings or estimated energy costs. Read on to learn how to read the useful information on EnergyGuide labels and how to use the info to your advantage.
The EnergyGuide program was introduced back in the 1970s to help consumers easily see the energy efficiency of home appliances. Manufacturers selling appliances like air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, water heaters, and clothes washers are mandated to participate in the program by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Deciphering the Label
The following points detail the information on EnergyGuide labels from top to bottom. You’ll see that the labels are actually fairly simple to read.
Top left: Key appliance features and designation, such as “heat pump” and “cooling and heating,” are located here. Top right: The appliance make, model, and size or capacity are located in the top right corner. Middle: In the middle of the label, a rectangle box contains efficiency information, such as …
Skylights bring natural light into your home and make any room feel more open and spacious. A view of the sky, day or night, is also an uplifting and aesthetic addition to your home. However, like any expanse of glass including a window, skylights can affect energy efficiency and even impact indoor comfort.
Glass transfers heat energy very efficiently. On a hot day, solar heat from the sun is transmitted through a glass skylight, warming the interior of the home and adding to the cooling load your air conditioner has to carry. On a winter night, conversely, heat inside the house radiates through glass into the colder outdoors and your furnace runs longer to compensate, increasing heating costs. This heat loss is more significant with a skylight than a window because heat in a room naturally rises and accumulates at the ceiling, radiating through the glass skylight.
Here are some quick tips to reap the benefits of a skylight and minimize the energy downsides.
Think about direction. A skylight installed on a north-facing slant of the roof gets more light than heat during most of the day. An east-facing skylight receives morning light and heat, while west-facing skylights get more …