Fall into Energy Savings
Posted on September 27, 2016
With the end of summer comes the end of long, sunny days and those warm nights. The weather is changing, and for a house that isn’t properly insulated, the crisp winds and falling temperatures of autumn can cut right through the walls — and your wallet. Here are some energy-saving tips to prepare your house for fall and cut down your electricity bill.
Tip one: Update your windows
Older houses, in particular, are known for having out-of-date windows. Old windows offer poor insulation and are a huge source of energy loss. They ought to be either updated or replaced by a window company in your area. Sometimes you can improve the energy efficiency of your windows by adding storm windows, weather-stripping and caulking. All three will reduce air leakage around your windows and reduce heat loss. In some situations, an update to various window treatments can be enough to promote energy savings, but in the case of older windows, it’s often best to trade them out for replacement windows. Outdated windows can be swapped out for energy-efficient windows with a low e-coating, double panes and vacuum-sealed argon fill, which will significantly reduce energy expenses in the long run. When looking for new windows, keep an eye out for their u-value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (CHGC), which measure the window’s resistance to heat loss and how much heat can enter through the glass, respectively. Lower numbers are better in both cases!
Tip two: Replace your siding
In terms of savings, energy-efficient siding in your home is just as important as having up-to-date windows. Different materials offer different insulation against the elements and, over time, can cause either tremendous financial loss or savings –– not all sidings are created equal. Most siding materials actually rank very poorly in their ability to insulate homes, which is why some form of insulation ought to be added alongside their installation to ensure the place stays warm and cozy. To rate the energy efficiency of different construction materials, we take a look at their R-value, which has a higher value for energy-efficient materials and a lower value for materials that are not. The ideal R-value is at least R-13, and yet many siding materials don’t even have an R-value of one. Adding foam insulation backing to your house’s siding can improve its R-value by as many as three to four points, though if you want that double-digit R-value, your best bet is to use 2x6 construction rather than 2x4. This may not be possible if you’re not building your own house, but the option to reinsulate your siding can still provide an improvement that will roll its way over into your bank account in the years to come.
Tip three: Sweat the small stuff
Replacing your windows and redoing the siding on your house are huge changes that can offer equally huge differences in the amount of energy that goes to waste in your house, but not all energy-efficient decisions have to involve huge construction. There are countless tricks and tips you can use to bring your utility bills down every day. For starters, trade your thermostat out for a programmable one that can adjust the air conditioning and heat when no one is in the house. Weatherproof your doors and windows, replace your lightbulbs with more efficient CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs) and reinsulate your attic. Keeping up-to-date on day-to-day energy-saving tricks like replacing your AC filters consistently, closing vents when you’re not in the room and supplementing your air conditioning with ceiling fans can all offer savings in the long run.
Saving energy is a habit to be learned and has to be built up over time, but when you make the commitment to lessen your energy waste, your wallet will thank you.