Common Home Energy Upgrade Recommendations
Most air leaks in homes are fairly obvious, such as around windows, doors, and electrical outlets. But others, like those in attics, around chimneys, and through recessed lighting fixtures, are often the more significant sources of energy loss in a home.
Adding insulation and sealing air leaks
Sealing air leaks is critical to improving the overall efficiency of your home and will make your heating and cooling system perform better. Along with air sealing, your contractor may recommend that you add insulation. Many older homes are not well-insulated, and some have no insulation at all. Properly installed insulation in walls, floors, and attics provides for more even temperatures throughout the house and results in a quieter, more comfortable living environment that is easier to heat and cool.
Many homes have leaky ductwork and poor air flow, resulting in stuffy and uncomfortable rooms - regardless of the thermostat setting. The home performance contractor may recommend sealing your home’s ducts with mastic, metal tape or spray-on sealant, and balancing the duct system to optimize air flow to all rooms. Insulating ductwork in attics, crawlspaces, and some basements can also help to ensure that your home will be more comfortable.
Heating and Cooling Systems
If your furnace or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, your contractor may recommend that you replace it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. When it comes to heating and cooling equipment, bigger is not always better. A properly-sized unit will make your home more comfortable by providing more consistent temperatures and better humidity control.
The contractor will also test combustion equipment, such as your furnace and hot water heater, to ensure that it is operating and venting properly.
Upgrading lighting and appliances
Energy used for lighting and appliances can account for half of your home’s total utility bill. As a result, the home performance contractor may recommend ENERGY STAR qualified products, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, electronic equipment, light fixtures, and compact fluorescent bulbs. An energy- and water-efficient hot water heating system may also be recommended.
Once you’ve taken steps to increase your home’s efficiency, you may also want to consider adding renewable energy systems, such as solar electric (photovoltaics) or solar hot water, to further reduce your utility bills.