In these recent days, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, escaping from the heat becomes particularly imperative. Traditionally, we can find sanctuary in our homes. Inevitably, however, as the heat beats down mercilessly and the air conditioning never stops running, the thought of getting that electric bill at month’s end creates undue stress.
Taking proactive steps to increase the energy efficiency of your home can help your comfort, both physically and mentally. Imagine getting your utility bill and not seeing much of a change, or even seeing a decrease from the previous years’ totals.
All cases of temperature extremes can easily be held at bay by taking a few steps to better insulate your home. Just like anything else, your home will become less efficient as it ages. Here are the biggest violators:
- Old, leaky windows: Windows aren’t just a nuisance to clean. They can also act as air conditioning or heating units. For example, cool air can leak out from windows, or sun rays can shine through and trap in too much heat. This ultimately makes rooms in your house hotter in warm weather and cooler in cold weather. Those air leaks flow toward your thermostat, which then gets a false reading, which then causes your air conditioner or heater to start working overtime. There goes efficiency and cheaper energy bills! By installing energy efficient windows, you will keep the heat out AND can even cut your yearly energy costs by up to 20%.
- Old-fashioned light bulbs: Yes, those light bulbs may be a lot cheaper to buy, but they’re far more expensive in the long run (they use four times more electricity than fluorescent bulbs!). They can also make the rooms in your house warmer. Want proof? Stand near a lamp that uses one on a hot night and you’ll feel the heat. Fluorescent light bulbs may cost more at first, but in the end will use far less energy (a 15-watt fluorescent bulb uses the same amount of energy as a regular 60-watt bulb) and will save you money. Also, fluorescent bulbs keep the house cooler, which makes a difference in the dog days of summer.
- Dirty filters: If your air conditioner has clogged filters, you’ll definitely feel it! Clogged dust and dirt in the filters forces your A/C to work harder. And that harder work STILL won’t keep your house cool enough. Once again, the results are lower efficiency and comfort. Not to mention that dirty filters are loaded with allergens, dust, and germs that can make you and your family sick. Simply cleaning and replacing filters are an inexpensive way to net big savings. (www.resnet.us)
If all of these measures at once seem overwhelming, just take a deep breath and think “baby steps.” Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor does your home have to become a finely-tuned efficiency machine by tomorrow. Try making one small purchase each time you shop…a new bulb here, a filter there. If the cost of all new windows is too much to absorb this year, at least get an opinion from an energy efficiency auditor (ideally one that is RESNET- or BPI-certified) to have an idea of where your focus should lie. Window-sealing kits can also provide some respite.
Are you still overwhelmed? Maybe have some questions about YOUR home? Give us a call at 417-612-7092!