Extreme outside temperatures in both summer and winter can make it difficult to keep your home comfortable inside. Turning up the heat or using central air can help. But without taking the precautions to make sure your warm or cool air stays inside, you could just be heating and cooling the neighborhood – and draining your pockets. On average, a typical household spends about a third of its annual heating and cooling budget on air that leaks into or out of the house through gaps and cracks. These gaps can be in your windows, doors, ceilings, and even in your attic. Here are some quick, simple tips to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Tip #1—Insulate around recessed light fixtures. Most recessed light fixtures have vents that open into the attic; which is a hidden way for warm or cool air to escape. Many homes have several of these types of fixtures, and they are a leading cause of household air leaks that go unnoticed. To fix the problem, examine your light fixtures and bulbs. Lights that are labeled ICAT- “insulation contact and air tight,” are already sealed. Next, examine the label next to the bulb. If you don’t see it, it’s safe to assume yours is leaking air. At $8 to $30, an airtight baffle is a quick, affordable fix. Simply remove the bulb, push the baffle up into the housing, then replace the bulb when finished.
Tip #2—Weather strip your doors including the attic door. Your doors aren’t just letting hot and cool air escape while people enter and exit. Many doors have gaps between the door itself and the door frame. To fix the access doors to your home, install new weather stripping around the door and new door sweeps at the bottom.
To prevent the escape of air from the attic access door, seal it by caulking between the stair frame and the rough opening. You could also install foam weather stripping around the perimeter of the hatch. Some stores carry pre-insulated hatch cover kits for attic access doors.
Tip #3—Adjust your thermostat accordingly. Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature when you are away from home helps keep the heating or cooling system from running excessively when no one is at home. Opening windows on pleasant summer nights instead of running the air conditioning all day and night also saves money.
Tip #4—Replace your light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs are available at most home improvement stores and can reduce the amount of energy used to light your home. Simply replace the light bulbs in your home with an Energy Star certified version (if available). As always, being vigilant about turning off lights when they are not in use is also a great way to conserve energy.
Tip #5—Inspect your windows. Windows are another way that air seeps in and out of your home. The older your home is, the more likely it is that you have old windows that are might not be efficient any longer. Inspect your windows for damage, flaws. Look for any gaps in the frame around your windows. Check to see if there are any cracks in the caulking around the top, bottom or sides of the windows. If so, remove the existing caulk then reapply a new coat. During the winter months, consider using window insulation kits to apply shrink film to your windows. Applied correctly, the film will eliminate drafts.
Efficient Heating & Cooling are experts in high quality home comfort solutions to meet your needs. Contact us today to request an estimate or schedule service.