Top Home Improvements to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Who isn’t tired of the sticker shock of opening up your energy bill each month? As much as you plan and try to  be smart, certain aspects of your home can skyrocket your energy usage, regardless of how conscientious you are. If you were able to generate savings, consider investing your money in a way that will not only improve your home’s value, but also reduce the amount of energy you use and therefore reduce your monthly bills.

Sealant for Cracks

The first place you should start when looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency is its air tightness. A leaky home will constantly be letting hot air out in the winter, and cool air in the summer. This means that even the most efficient HVAC systems and most cautious homeowners will be struggling to keep their homes affordably comfortable.

Make your home air tight by addressing any obvious cracks or holes in the exterior of your home and weatherstripping and caulking around windows and other entryways into your home.

Attic Insulation

Heat rises and if your attic has little or no insulation, so will your energy bill. While whole home insulation is vital to sealing in whatever comfortable temperature your thermostat is set to, your attic insulation is especially vital to improving your home’s energy efficiency.

More Reliable Windows

As the seasons change over the years, windows can gradually separate from their original casing. This creates major leaks in your home and your bank account. Replacing older windows can ensure that these holes in your home are secure and that little energy is being transferred through or around your home’s windows.

HVAC Tune-Up

Your HVAC system can account for over half of your home’s entire energy consumption. This means that paying close attention to every facet of your home’s HVAC system is a great way to identify ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Consider upgrading one or more of these HVAC mainstays to make your home more efficient –

 

  • Thermostat – Programmable or smart thermostats allow homeowners to control their system’s usage in order to maximize its efficiency. Certain thermostats can even provide feedback in order to improve energy efficiency and home comfort.
  • Ducts – Much like your home needs to be sealed tightly in order to prevent excessive heating or cooling costs, the same goes for your home’s ductwork. Your HVAC system cannot properly distribute air throughout your home if its connecting air ducts are loosely sealed.
  • Water Heater – While your HVAC system accounts for the majority of your home’s energy consumption, the water heater accounts for the majority of your HVAC system’s energy use. Older water heaters do not have the same energy efficient technology behind their design and function as more modern systems. Replacing just your home’s water heater can make a noticeable difference in your monthly energy bill.

 

Ultimately your home’s energy efficiency needs are unique to your exact situation. The location and structure of your home; the efficiency of your appliances; how occupants consume energy – all of these factors make up your home’s overall efficiency. To get a better understanding of how YOU can save energy, contact William G. Day Company for a comprehensive home energy efficiency audit.

How to Save Money on Energy Costs in 2017

With the prospect of a new year, make your new year’s resolution all about energy savings. Many people don’t realize that just a few small tweaks in your habits can really add up when it comes to your home’s energy bills.

How to Save Money on 2017 Energy Costs

Check out this list for several smart ideas on how to save money on energy costs in the new year:

  • Use compact fluorescent bulbs over traditional incandescent bulbs as they can reduce energy usage up to 75%. Also, be sure to turn off lights whenever you leave a room. Make this a household rule to get everyone in on the energy savings.
  • Check for drafts around your home’s exterior doors and windows, and seal up any leaks with weather stripping; or, if the space is small, use caulking. For drafts at the bottoms of doors, either purchase or make draft blockers to stop drafts from sneaking in.
  • Check for leaks in your refrigerator gasket, which can be a costly problem to have. Place a sheet of paper in between the door and the body of the refrigerator. Close the door; if the sheet of paper slides out easily when tugged, then you should replace your refrigerator’s gasket.
  • When not in use, unplug your television set. The television is designed to constantly draw power so that it is able to easily “click” on when you want it to.
  • Have your HVAC system checked out by a professional at least once per year—twice is best. By doing this, you can make sure that your heating and cooling systems are running effectively and not using up any extra energy that they shouldn’t be using. Also, a professional technician can easily spot any small problems with your system that may need repair or adjustments.
  • Clean all air vents regularly with a vacuum cleaner. Use a small paper towel wrapped around a butter knife to clean in between the grooves. This will not only help improve the efficiency of your heating or cooling system, but it will also improve your home’s air quality by preventing the dust and debris caught in these vents from cycling throughout your home’s air.
  • If you are using a manual style thermostat, consider switching to a programmable one. This way, you can set your home’s temperature to a more energy efficient temperature while you are away or sleeping. You can set it to be change to a lower temperature in the winter, or a slightly higher temperature in the summer.
  • When using your washing machine, avoid using the hot cycle and wash with warm or cold water instead. Heating water is responsible for approximately 90% of the energy expenditure of your washing machine. Cold water washes just as well, and is gentler on most fabrics, so the next time you do a load of laundry, choose colder temperatures over hot.
  • During the colder months, keep a supply of sweaters and throw blankets around for keeping warm without the need to crank up the heat. By keeping your home just one degree cooler than normal, you can save from 3 to 5% in energy costs.

Want to save money on energy costs by upgrading your HVAC system? Contact us today, and our team would be happy to help you find the right energy efficient HVAC system to meet your home comfort needs.

Think Twice Before Closing Interior Doors In Your Home

We have probably all done it from time to time — closed the door to one or two rooms that aren’t in use in order to increase energy efficiency.

After all, why heat or cool a room if no one will use it regularly? Yet, is it really a good idea?

The answer is no, but not for the reasons you think.

Closing a door reduces air flow into the room along with air flow in your entire house. Air becomes trapped behind the closed door and pressurizes the room, which, in turn, forces cooled air out of the house through any opening the air finds. Each cubic yard of air forced out of a building requires an equal amount to be drawn in to replace it. The number of doors closed off in a house increases the exchange rate of outside air entering the home by a rate of 300 to 900 percent. The more interior doors are closed, the higher the percentage.

What does this mean for the average homeowner? Very simply, utility bills increase while comfort decreases and the potential for health problems suddenly appears.

Why does all that happen? Air follows the path of least resistance. In your home, the biggest and straightest holes are usually the chimney or flues for your water heater and furnace. These openings have smooth surfaces that make it easy for air to slide down in the same way that it slid outside. Reverse air flow from these openings is called a backdraft and can bring in carbon monoxide (CO) and other combustible gases, outdoor pollutants and humidity. Negative effects of reverse airflow can include cold drafts, high humidity, increased mold or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Another factor is the presence of new windows and doors that provide tighter seals to the outside and hold warmed or cooled air inside more efficiently. Measures such as these and making sure that HVAC ducts are airtight also further seal the building, but sometimes can exacerbate interior air quality problems.

If you need to close off rooms, try to do so for only a portion of the day so that air flow is adequate.

To learn more about optimum HVAC use and indoor air quality, continue following our blog for new posts.

Energy Saving Tips For Winter

You do not have to spend a fortune on your electric bill this winter. There are many ways you can cut your energy usage during the colder months. Below is a list of energy savings tips for winter:

Cut Your Shower Time In Half

It is estimated showers make up about 66 percent of the water heating costs. If you cut your shower time in half, you can cut your water heating costs by up to 33 percent.

Wash Your Clothes In Cold Water

You can also cut your water heating costs by washing your clothing in cold water. The amount of money that can be saved by washing clothes in cold water can vary from household to household. However, the average household can save $30 every year on their hot water heating costs.

Clean Your Lint Trap

Before you place a load of clothes in the dryer, you will need to clean out the lint trip. This can help you save $34 per year on your energy bill. Cleaning out the lint trap also helps reduce the risk of dryer fires.

Adjust The Temperature On The Thermostat

You can save a lot of money on your electric bill by adjusting the temperature on your thermostat. If you can comfortably keep the temperature in your home at or below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, you should consider doing so. You may want to consider turning the temperature down even lower when you leave your home. Reducing the temperature on your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours per day can help you save between five and 15 percent on your heating bill per year.

Avoid Over-drying Your Clothes

If your dryer runs for an additional 15 minutes per load, this could cost you $30 extra per year. That is why it is important to avoid over-drying your clothes.

Making simple changes in your routine can help you cut your energy usage. This will help you save money on your electric bill. If you enjoyed reading this article, you should check back with us often for more HVAC and energy saving tips.

Understanding Energy Factor Rating On Water Heaters

Energy efficiency and consumption of different devices has been under close scrutiny recently. With the emphasis being on devices that are energy efficient and homes that complies with the set energy efficiency levels. So what does energy factor imply? The energy factor is a rating that shows how efficient energy conversion is for a specific appliance like a heater. The most common appliances that have this metric on them are heaters, dish washers, washing machines and clothes dryers.

The energy factor is used mainly for comparison purposes to determine which device is more efficient when it comes to energy conversion. The determination of this factor for different appliances differs. For the water heaters this factor is determined by three major factors.

Recover efficiency is the first factor. This entails the efficiency of transfer of heat to the water being heated. Therefore for those heaters which can transfer the energy efficiently from the source of energy like a socket to the water, the factor is higher than those that re less efficient.

The second factor is the amount of cycling losses. This is the level of heat lost as the water that is being heated is circulating in the heating system. The heating system may include a large tank where the water is stored during the heating process. It is in this tank that the water will circulate during heating. The circulation will require some energy and this is what causes the cycling losses.

The third factor is the standby losses. These are common for heating systems that involve storage tanks. The amount of heat that the water in storage losses per period of time in comparison to the water’s total heat content.

The three factors are used simultaneously to determine the factor for a heater. Therefore, a heater with a high factor means that if it minimizes on the losses whether standby or cycling and has a higher efficiency when it comes to transfer of energy from source to the water. You may therefore use this factor to make a purchase of the best heater available as you can easily compare the factor for different heaters.

The energy factor will therefore provide an insight into the energy utilization of the heater and ultimately the cost of using it. Therefore, it is an important factor to consider whether you are installing heating systems for your house, office, hotel or any other place.

Efficiency Standards for HVAC Equipment: Are They Going Up Soon?

In 2009, working with leading HVAC and utility experts, the U.S. Department of Energy set its sights on improving HVAC efficiency standards. These new HVAC efficiency rates were slated to take effect in 2013. However, it wasn’t long before problems were encountered and a court order delayed implementation.

There is no doubt that raising the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE for combustion systems, especially those installed in northern states, could help increase efficiency and reduce energy usage. However, increasing the AFUE for gas heating brought about some serious problems. For one thing, the only way to increase the current HVAC efficiency rating of 78 AFUE to the proposed 90 AFUE would mean homeowners would need to install a condensing furnace. Unfortunately, a condensing furnace is the only type of furnace that is capable of delivering the efficiency rating of 90 AFUE. A 90 AFUE furnace means it only wastes 10% of the fuel it burns. Obviously, this would provide excellent HVAC efficiency standards, but implementing this change would be difficult and costly for homeowners.

Whether you live in a single-family home, condominium or townhome, retrofitting your home to accommodate a condensing furnace that meets the higher HVAC efficiency standards would pose some challenges. It is important to understand how these furnaces work in order to grasp the difficulty and expense that homeowners would face in trying to have their home retrofitted for a condensing furnace.

A condensing furnace burns gas to heat your home; however, a second heat exchanger is used to utilize the heat from hot water vapor caused by the burning of combustible fuel. This hot water vapor must be condensed and drained through your home’s plumbing. With an entirely different type of venting, a condensing furnace would require extensive retrofitting which would be expensive, especially in homes where access to outside walls might be limited, such as an attached home.

The HVAC industry argued that the expense and difficulty of retrofitting homes to meet these higher HVAC efficiency standards could place a financial burden on some homeowners. As of now, this issue is still making its way through the courts, but it is important to keep in mind that replacing HVAC equipment with new equipment that is energy efficient is always a good idea.

For HVAC repairs and service or if you want to find out more about improving HVAC efficiency, be sure to contact a local HVAC specialist.