article

Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient

By Realty Times Staff via Realty Times

bluehammer

Your home is your place to rest, play, and spend time with your family. It should be a place of comfort, and this comfort need not come at a high cost. Many homes, however, waste a lot of energy in ways that can be prevented. Here are five ways to make your home more energy-efficient.

Replace or Weatherize All Windows

Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat gain and heat loss in a home. Both heat gain and heat loss rob you of comfort and keep your energy bills higher than they have to be, whether during the summer or winter months.

Windows rank high on the list because of air leakage around the frame and the heat that transfers through windowpanes. Old single-pane windows provide little protection against heat transference. If you replace these windows with energy-efficient windows you should see immediate savings and improved climate control in your home.

When choosing windows, consider the frame and not just glass. Frame material and frame design matters. Hinged windows allow less air leakage than sliding, single-hung or double-hung do. Avoid metal because these conduct heat. Choose insulated vinyl frames or insulated fiberglass frames for the most efficiency and durability.

Pay attention to glass efficiency ratings such as the U-factor and the solar heat gain coefficient. The right windows to choose depend largely upon regional climate. If you live in an area with hot summers and mild winters, you want glass that blocks out as much solar heat gain as possible.

Low-emissivity coatings on windowpanes reduce heat conduction through the glass, which benefits you by keeping hot air inside in winter and hot air outside in summer. There are other coatings and tints available, but you should still look for the Energy Star label. Only products that have met strict requirements by the EPA qualify for this special certification.

Seal the Home's Thermal Envelope

Air leakage through your home's exterior is another source of energy waste. Air infiltration makes your heating and cooling system work harder to maintain climate control. In order to find all of the hidden leaks, schedule an energy audit with an HVAC company. Until you do, seal the noticeable leaks. These can usually be found in the following areas:

  • Around window frames and doors
  • Beneath baseboards
  • Around flues and chimneys

When sealing leaks in most areas, you can use caulk, weather-stripping or expandable spray foam insulation. Another method to control air leaks is to replace poorly fitting doors or other features and to use hardware with a type that creates a better seal. One example is barn door hardware. This kind of hardware can create a better air seal in some cases because the door slides into place instead of swinging open. This creates fewer opportunities for gaps between the door and the frame.

Upgrade Your Home HVAC System

If your home's HVAC system is older than ten years, consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient system that is Energy Star certified. Improvements in design make these systems far more energy-efficient than any in the past. If they are sized correctly and installed correctly, you should see lower bills and improved comfort and improved air quality.

Upgrade Insulation

Most homes have only the minimum required insulation. Older homes might even fall far short of the minimum simply because the insulation has become too wet, or it has become compressed or it has shifted.

Adding insulation to the attic will have the largest effects. It doesn't matter which kind of insulation you use as much as it matters that it is properly installed, with no gaps, and that you use the recommended quantity for your region.

Adding insulation to exterior walls doesn't have to be a big remodeling project. Much of the time, it can be blown into walls by a contractor.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

These thermostats make a home more energy efficient in the following ways:

  • You won't have to remember to set the temperature lower or higher before you run out of the house each the morning, because you can program the thermostat to do it for you each day.
  • You can program different energy-saving temperature settings for special occasions, such as vacations, and you can still come home to a comfortable house.
  • Some new thermostats even allow you to check them remotely, sparing you from worrying about whether the home is getting too hot or cold while you are away.

By implementing these ideas, you have little to lose and a lot to gain in terms of comfort and savings. If it feels overwhelming or it is hard on your budget to make all of these changes at once, try to do them in steps. Each time you take even one step towards more energy efficiency, you will start saving money on energy bills.

Want to estimate your home improvement costs before talking with a contractor? Claim your home for free with bluehammer to estimate costs, secure your home inventory and learn more about your home.

* THIS REPORT IS AN OPINION THAT MAY BE INACCURATE AND IS PROVIDED SOLELY AS AN INFORMATIONAL TOOL NOT DESIGNED TO PROVIDE DEFINITIVE ANSWERS. ALL ELEMENTS ARE OFFERED “AS IS” AND BLUEBOOK EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES, REPRESENTATIONS, AND GUARANTEES OF ANY NATURE, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABLITILY, NONINFRINGEMENT, TITLE, QUIET ENJOYMENT, ACCURACY, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL BLUEBOOK (OR THEIR SUPPLIERS) BE LIABLE FOR ANY GENERAL, DIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, THOSE RESULTING FROM USE OF THE PRODUCT, INCLUDING : (1) RELIANCE ON THE MATERIALS PRESENTED, (2) COSTS OF REPLACEMENT GOODS, (3) LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, (4) DELAYS OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTIONS, (5) AND ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF INFORMATION) WHETHER OR NOT BLUEBOOK HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

Know what you should pay for your home improvement projects with bluehammer.Claim your home. It's free!

Popular


Are Extended Warranties Worth the Cost?

Extended warranties offer consumers longer terms of coverage on service, repair and replacement for their home's appliances than the standard out-of-the-box warranty from the manufacturer. These warranties are highly profitable for retailers, as they can run up the total cost of your purchase by $100 or more, with very few claims being filed per year. Are they actually worth it?

Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient

Your home is your place to rest, play, and spend time with your family. It should be a place of comfort, and this comfort need not come at a high cost. Many homes, however, waste a lot of energy in ways that can be prevented. Here are five ways to make your home more energy-efficient.

8 Ways to Love Your Small Space More

When we run stories on living in homes with petite proportions, you often tell us, "Small? You should see my house!" Because we aim to please, we've rounded up some of the tiniest rooms on Houzz, picking those that pack plenty of ideas and function into a small space. We think that these are indisputably compact. But, more important, do you?

The Nightmare Next Door: What To Do When Your Neighbor Is a Nuisance

The animals that live in the house across the street bark incessantly. The people two doors down play their music so loud you now know all the lyrics to every Kendrick Lamar song ever written. And something, presumably a dog (you hope) keeps leaving presents on your lawn. Annoyances like these can make it unpleasant to live in your neighborhood. And, they can quickly escalate, becoming dangerous or even in need of legal intervention.

Replacing Your Bathroom Vanity

Replacing your old vanity can make a big aesthetic difference in your bathroom.

The First-Time Homebuyer's Guide To Grown-Up Furniture

You just bought your first home. Congratulations: You're an adult! Now it's time to fill it up. But if you were planning to pack up those ratty old beanbag chairs and the bed that awakens you with a morning backache and move them to your new place, we have a few suggestions. It's time for a grown-up upgrade. Here's where to start.

It's Time to Clean Your Kitchen Dishwasher

Whether your dishwasher has a funky smell to it or not, a periodic cleaning should be at the top of your to-do list

9 Places to Shop Online For Furniture and Home Furnishings

These days, there isn't much we don't shop for online. But if you have been hesitant to buy your furniture and other home items with a few clicks instead of being able to walk into a store and see them in person, it might be time to rethink that strategy. With so many great sites that offer easy delivery (and returns) and tons of reviews that can give you confidence in your purchase, furnishing or updating your home online is easier than ever. We have curated a few of our favorite sites.

7 Reasons Quartz Counters Are The Answer For Your Kitchen

Has the tide finally turned on granite? In the last few years, granite has continued to be a popular choice for kitchen counters, but has lost ground to quartz, which is now the go-to for homebuyers and renovators, not to mention design shows and flippers. If you're getting ready to redo your kitchen or are building a new home, here are all the reasons to swaddle your counters in quartz.

Electric Water Heater Troubleshooting Quickstart Guide

Technology advances are making electric water heaters more popular than ever. The electric water heater market, valued at $6 billion in 2015, will expand at an annual compound growth rate of 7.5 percent to reach $33.22 billion by 2024, Global Market Insights projects. Advances in energy saving, comfort control and display technology are driving demand. As more homes acquire electric water heaters, home owners will increasingly require specialized maintenance for these appliances. Here’s a quickstart guide to assist you when troubleshooting electric water heaters.

See More Articles