Household energy costs consume a significant portion of a household budget. So it makes sense to ensure you are taking all the necessary steps towards becoming energy efficient.
In a recent newsletter, Pedro Giorgana a professional home inspector with InspecHomes identified strategies that will reduce your household energy consumption and help to stabilize the utility bills. We are reprinting an edited version with his permission.
Approximately 40% of home energy costs are consumed by heating and cooling ALL of the living spaces within the home. Identifying the ‘unused spaces’ and making sure they are properly insulated goes along way to reducing energy costs. The attic is a case in point. Most new homes are insulated with R values up to R-40 and R-50. However, this may not be the case in older homes where insulation can be considerably less. Adding insulation to the attic (usually blown in cellulose or fiberglass) can provide a marked improvement in the comfort level in your home. Even a few inches of added insulation can fill gaps in older insulation that may have previously contribute to air losses. CAUTION: – Do not block the existing ventilation spaces that are necessary to permit the proper flow of air in the attic. In fact, this might be one of those home tasks best left to the professionals.
Create an air barrier by sealing gaps and penetrations in the attic space (ceiling electrical fixtures, exhaust fans, wiring and duct penetrations) with plastic to prevent heated or cooled house air from escaping the building envelope. Insulate the attic hatch with a layer or two of rigid foam board insulation and add compressible weather stripping to complete the seal. Adding latches to the hatch can also help ensure a tight air seal.
SEAL THE DRAFTS:
Reduce potential air loss in your home by sealing drafts around windows and doors with caulking, ensure all exterior vent closures and wall penetrations are well sealed. Worn out door seals and sweeps should be replaced. Insulate electrical outlets and sockets using foam insulation gaskets designed to fit inside the covers. This can be especially helpful to stop drafts in older homes in which walls are not well insulated.
Change your furnace filter at appropriate intervals, clean duct work and have the furnace inspected annually. A well maintained appliance will operate more efficiently, and as an added bonus the operating life of the system is likely to be extended.
Programmable thermostats may not provide the large savings as first thought. It’s in those regions where there are larger seasonal variations that see the immediate effects. But there is always benefit from not heating or cooling your home when you are away or asleep. Program the thermostat to a setback of perhaps 10 degrees when heating or cooling is not required.
TANKLESS WATER HEATERS:
Other than space heating, more energy is used to heat water in the home than almost any other household activity. In the majority of Canadian homes storage tanks are commonly used. The water in the tank is continuously heated to maintain the temperature whether or not needed. Tankless water heaters (“on demand” or “instantaneous water heaters”) use high inputs of gas or electricity to instantly heat the water when required. Because the hot water is only heated when needed, High Efficiency tankless systems can reduce the amount of energy used to provide hot water to the home. To fully understand what is required in your home consult a professional installer.
Karen Paul & Associates | Real Estate
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