3 Energy Saving Tips to Revitalize an Old Home
In comparing energy efficiency, the difference between an existing home and a newly constructed one is that a new home is generally 30% more energy efficient. Considering a typical American household spends $115 a month on utilities, it’s easy to see just how great your savings could be.
However, not everyone is lucky enough to be in a situation where they can build their own brand new home, especially in this economy! Nevertheless, there are still things that you can do to your current home to make it more energy efficient, leading to significant financial savings plus a more comfortable living environment.
First, look for proper insulation
Only 20% of pre 1980 homes are insulated to the proper standard. Up to 1/3 of your heating could be escaping through the ceiling.
In the USA, your attic insulation should be between R-30 and R-60, depending on where you live.
Although the attic is a major contributor to heat loss, an older home could also be lacking insulation elsewhere. By investing time and money insulating walls, crawlspaces, floors and garages, you could save up to 50% in energy costs!
How old is your air conditioner?
What equipment and appliances could be changed to ENERGY STAR versions? ENERGY STAR rated products save between 20% and 30% on average.
For many, the air conditioner will have the greatest effect when making an energy comparison. This is especially true in hotter climates. In Florida, 40% of utility bills are taken up by the HVAC system – mostly for cooling.
In most cases, a new air conditioner will be 30% more energy efficient, and by upgrading your air conditioner from a SEER 9 to a SEER 13, you could save up to $300 annually.
A general contractor can help you, where the builders haven’t
A new home doesn’t just perform better because of energy efficient components. Older homes simply weren’t built with energy efficiency high on the agenda.
This is where a RESNET Qualified EnergySmart Contractor can help – consider hiring one. As an experienced Home Energy Professional trained in energy efficiency, they can show you where you’re losing energy and provide cost effective solutions.
Take your ductwork for example. Older ducts were often not properly sealed or insulated, resulting in many older homes having up to and even over 40% duct leakage. Imagine, 40% of your money could be spent heating the Christmas tree in the attic!
But it’s not surprising that ducts aren’t checked for such leaks very often. After all, nobody enjoys working in the filthy old crawl space do they?
Talk to a RESNET Qualified EnergySmart Contractor about cleaning, sealing and insulating your ductwork, while making sure all the connections with the registers are tight.
Sleep Cool This Summer with These Energy Efficient Tips!
Hot sticky summer nights can make it impossible to get a good night’s sleep, unless you crank the air conditioner up. But you’re back to sleepless nights again when you see your utility bill! Thankfully, there are other ways you can sleep cool this summer; here are 10 energy efficient tips to help you sleep in the heat.
1. Freeze Your Sheets
Sound crazy? It’s not! Put your sheets in plastic bags and stick them in your fridge or freezer for a few minutes. It’ll cool you down and make it easier to fall asleep.
2. Convert Your Hot Water Bottle into a Cold One
If freezing your sheets is a little too much, then use a hot water bottle instead. Fill it with cold water, stick it in the freezer and voila! You have a bed-friendly ice pack.
3. Use Your Fans Creatively
Instead of having your fans blow hot air at you all night, use them to draw the hot air out. Face box fans window-side out, so they can push out hot air. Set ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise; this way, the blades will pull hot air up and away, instead of pushing it down and around you.
4. Make Your Bed into a Cool Bed
Take a towel or sheet and dampen it in cold water. Use it as a blanket or cover. To avoid soaking your mattress, lay the towel(s) or sheet over dry ones first.
5. Choose the Right Sleepwear
If you’re a pyjama person, then opt for loose fitting, cotton t-shirts, shorts and underwear. They’re comfortable, and let air circulate so you stay cooler.
6. Make Your Own Air Conditioner
Take a shallow pan, bowl or roasting tray and fill it with ice cubes. Place it in front of a fan; the breeze will pick up cold water from the ice cubes’ surface as they melt to create a cooling mist that will head your way.
7. Create a Cross-breeze
Place a fan across from a window so that outside air combines with air generated by the fan to create a cross-breeze. Generate more airflow by setting up multiple fans throughout the room.
8. Cool off with a Cold Shower
Taking a cold shower before going to sleep can work wonders! The cold water will not only cool down your core body temperature, but also wash off sweat so you can go to bed feeling cool and clean.
9. Avoid Using the Stove
Cooking on your stove or using your oven generates heat, which warms your home. Great for winter, but not so much in summer! So try making foods that can be consumed at room temperature, and are cooling. Good examples are salads and cold soups (e.g., gazpacho). Also, because the body produces more heat from digesting warm heavy meals, smaller light dinners also help keep you cooler.
10. Unplug Your Electronics
Electronic gadgets and small appliances generate heat if they’re plugged in – even when not in use. By unplugging the ones you’re not using, you can reduce the amount of heat in your home and save energy.
A home that’s not energy efficient is not only more expensive to run, but also more uncomfortable to live in (too hot in summer; too cold in winter). To find out how to make your home energy efficient, contact a certified RESNET Home Energy Professional.
Stay Cool This Summer! 7 Energy Efficient Tips for your Home
When the mercury spikes your first instinct might be to crank up the A/C, but that’s a burn you’ll feel later. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways to stay cool this summer while being easy on your energy bill and kind to the planet: Stay Cool This Summer! 7 Energy Efficient Tips for your Home.
One of the simplest things you can do to keep you and your family cool is to make sure your air conditioner is in perfect working order. We recommend you change your filters every 1-3 months.
Have a certified technician perform maintenance on your air conditioner to improve the performance and life of your unit. We do not recommend that any homeowner ever perform their own maintenance, this should always been done by a professional. Find a RESNET certified professional near you.
When new filters and maintenance just don’t cut it, it might be time to invest in a new unit. Remember, not all air conditioners were made equal! It’s important to choose the right air conditioner for your home.
Raise the temperature of your air conditioning unit by 1 or 2 degrees, up to 78 degrees. You could save 3-5% off your energy bill just by raising the temperature a bit. Plus, your air conditioner won’t have to struggle to get the house to a comfortable coolness, reducing overall wear and tear on your unit.
A ceiling fan is a great way of working with your air conditioner, especially if you’ve raised the temperature slightly. For optimum performance, ensure the blades are spinning counter-clockwise. The air-flow from this creates a wind-chill effect that makes you feel cooler.
Already have vertical blinds? Angle them slightly so the concave part of the blind reflects sunlight up and away from your house. This works great whether you’re using your air conditioning or not, and can block up to 65% of the heat that would otherwise enter your home through the windows.
If you’re not already using a programmable thermostat, have one installed. You can preset a program that will raise the temperature during the day when no one is at home and in the cooler nighttime hours, or if you go on vacation for a few days, then lower it again just before you get home. Some thermostats can even be controlled from your smartphone!
Stay cool this summer with more energy saving tips!