Taking a whole-house systems approach to energy efficiency will lower your energy bills. This is an important undertaking when you want reduced costs without sacrificing comfort. Energy losses occur through your home’s envelope because of heat transfer. Heat constantly seeks out cold, so by sealing the air leaks, adding insulation, improving weatherstripping and making lifestyle changes, you can keep your home more comfortable without relying so heavily on your HVAC system.
Over time, buildings settle and caulk shrinks, so it’s a good idea to go through your home, looking for gaps around window frames, the foundation and inside the attic where air losses can occur. Any place where infrastructure enters or leaves your home can have a gap around it as well, especially in the attic or foundation of your home.
These holes and gaps are easy to fill with caulk or expanding foam. Exterior doors may need fresh weatherstripping, another easy task to improve energy efficiency.
The amount of insulation in your home’s attic should range between 16 and 20 inches for the best thermal protection. Options include fiberglass batts or blown-in loose insulation. They’re relatively easy to install, affordable, and once in place, start to work immediately to cut your energy costs. Adding more wall insulation is more challenging and may require a contractor who specializes in blown-in insulation or spray foam. To get the most from the whole-house systems approach to energy efficiency, it’s best to start with the attic.
- Making it a habit to turn off the lights as you leave a room and unplug chargers for portable devices cuts energy consumption. The chargers draw power even if nothing is attached to them.
- Turning the water heater down to 120 degrees F saves energy.
- Checking the air filter for your HVAC system and changing it when it’s dirty cuts energy consumption, as does annual professional maintenance, including a ductwork inspection.
To learn more about the whole-house systems approach to energy efficiency, contact our pros at Roth Heating & Cooling, providing top-notch HVAC services for the Portland area since 1976.