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How Can I Make My Home More Efficient?
It is a given that we all work hard to support our families and I think we can all agree that wasting money is not something any of us enjoy. Well, when it comes to your home you are likely wasting hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year on electrical costs. I want to touch on a few of the things that can be done to make your home more energy efficient and more comfortable.
- Attic Insulation
When it comes to attics I’d say it is a fair estimate that 80% of homes do not have enough insulation in the attic. In years past, building code stated that 4”-5” of insulation was sufficient and it was often a recycled newspaper product. The newspaper product deteriorates over time and it loses its insulating properties. I come across attics regularly that only have 2”-3” of the old style of insulation. Suffice it to say that insulation is not doing much to save you energy. Building code today says that we should have a minimum of 12” of insulation in our attic and if you take it a step further, we are considered climate zone one by the Department of Energy and their recommendation is 18”. The attic insulation we use today is made by Owens Corning with a lifetime warranty against settling or losing its insulating value. Per the manufacturer, properly insulating your attic will reduce your cooling costs a minimum of 20%
- Recessed Can Lighting
This is one that many people don’t give a lot of thought to, you just flip the switch and on come the lights right? Stop and ponder this for a minute, the typical temperature in an attic on a summer day will reach 140 – 150 degrees. In a home environment the heat from the attic wants to get into the home any way it can and those lights are like a super highway for heat. I have shot those lights with my thermal camera when they have been off for hours in the middle of the day and the readings have been as high as 110 degrees. Retro fitting new can lights with sealed cans or having insulated boxes installed over those lights can make a huge difference on the heat load of the home.
- Radiant Barrier
Radiant barrier comes in two forms, a thin sheet of foil that is stapled to the trusses or in a paint form. Either way, what it does is reflect around 65% of the ambient heat back out of the attic through the roof. Instead of the attic hitting that 150 degree mark, radiant barrier will keep the attic closer to the 90 degree mark. Again, we are reducing the heat load on the home so the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. A word of warning, do not install radiant barrier if you have a shingle roof, the reflected heat will melt your roof in a very short period of time.
- Attic Fans
These fans come in many different shapes and sizes. They can be hard wired, solar powered, and some have thermostats that activate the fan when the temperature of the attic reaches a certain point. Again, moving the air around and out of the attic keeps the space cooler and less heat is getting into the home.
- Water Heater Timers
Most of us have patterns when it comes to who is showering when. If you install a water heater timer that shuts the heater off during times of non-usage you can save quite a bit of money vs. the water heater sitting there re-heating itself constantly.
I haven’t covered every money saving tip when it comes to your home but these are a great place to start. Also, if the attic access point is inside the home you should make sure it is air sealed so no heat is transferring into the home from that point. Last thought is to make sure you are getting your air conditioning system tuned up annually so it is running at its peak performance.
Until we meet again my friends, please remember that jokes about unemployed people aren’t funny, they just don’t work.
House Whisperer out!!