How would you like to have a comfortable, quiet and healthy home that requires less maintenance and has a lower utility bill? You can when you have an energy-efficient home. But to have an energy-efficient home, all your home systems must work together. Here’s how.
Home Systems – The First Step to an Energy-Efficient Home
Your home consists of many different systems that work to keep your family comfortable. These include:
- Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC)
- Windows and doors
Your HVAC system is responsible for half the energy used in your home. Because it controls both the temperature and the humidity in your home, having a unit that’s the right size and properly maintained is key.
A professional inspection can quickly let you know if your unit is sized correctly and working properly. Professionals can also do important routine maintenance such as:
- Testing electrical controls
- Checking air flow
- Checking refrigerant levels
- Testing for refrigerant leaks
Easy maintenance jobs you can do, if you choose, are:
- Checking air filters
- Replacing air filters
- Cleaning condenser coils
- Cleaning condensate lines
This maintenance keeps your HVAC system working at its best.
When your HVAC unit doesn’t work properly, your home won’t be comfortable and you’ll have a higher utility bill. You may notice mold growing on walls and windows and condensation causing wall staining and damage to your windowsills.
The ductwork in your home is crucial to the performance of your HVAC system and having an energy-efficient home. Ducts are usually located in attics, basements and garages. If your ducts have gaps or leaks, chances are you’re heating and cooling these areas. Not only that, but warm, humid air is coming inside your home, putting a double strain on your HVAC system and costing you money.
Your ducts should be checked every year. All ductwork seams should be secured with mechanical fasteners and sealed with mastic. The last step in making sure your ductwork is as efficient is insulation. This prevents heated or cooled air from radiating out of the ductwork.
In the Sarasota and Bradenton area, roof temperatures can reach as high as 140 degrees in the summer. Your home should have attic insulation levels of R-30 or higher to be energy efficient.
Cover the floor of your attic with roll insulation. If you can see the joists in your attic, add more insulation, remembering not to cover the soffit vents. The soffit vents allow a natural flow of air in your attic, helping the hot air to escape.
By not having the proper insulation in your attic, it heats up and the heat radiates into your home. This also causes damage to your roof, cutting the life expectancy to your roofing materials. The added heat in your home increases the strain on your HVAC system.
Windows and Doors
The most common problem with windows and doors are air leaks. Windows and doors should be sealed to prevent air exchange. Windows should also be Energy Star qualified for the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Having Energy Star-qualified windows reduces your utility bill by seven to 15 percent.
If new windows aren’t in your budget, use weather stripping and caulk to seal around the windows. Using curtains to block the cold or hot air also helps to save on your utility bill.
Doors should also be Energy Star-qualified. Regardless of what type doors you have, they should be sealed. Use weather stripping around the doors and install “door sweeps” on the bottom of the doors to stop drafts.
Lighting and Appliances
For an energy-efficient home, use Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs use around 75 percent less energy and also produce 75 percent less heat. This means your HVAC system works less.
To save on your utility bill, make your home more comfortable, and have an energy-efficient home, the appliances you choose are important. Many appliances heat up your home when in use, and they all use electricity. By choosing Energy Star-qualified appliances, you can save around 20 percent on your utility bill.
Contact the Experts for an Energy-Efficient Home
For an energy-efficient home, your home systems must work together. Contact Aqua Plumbing & Air for all your questions about having an energy-efficient home. With 39 years of service in the Sarasota and Bradenton area, we have the experience you need.
Written by John Miller