Tips for Lowering Your Energy Usage and Bills at Home
Duct Efficiency - 40-60% of a home’s energy usage comes from the HVAC system. The average system loses about 30% of the air it circulates through leaks. Tightening the system by using foil tape and mastic to seal various connection points and replacing or repairing damaged ducts will help put more air into your home. Your system will not have to work as hard and should lower your energy use.
Air Infiltration - Hot air is always trying to move towards and mix with cooler air. That could mean the heat from your home escaping outside during the low temperature winter months, or the hot outside air trying to enter your cool home during the high temperature summer months. Either way, tightening your structure by eliminating leakage will slow this process and help lower your energy use. Some ways to do this are:
Lighting - Replacing existing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs is a very cost effective way to lower your energy bills. The typical incandescent bulb uses 60 watts of electricity and lasts about 1,000 hours. The equivalent CFL uses about 15 watts of electricity and lasts about 10,000 hours. So over the life of 1 CFL, you would have to buy 10 incandescent bulbs and use 4 times the electricity of the same CFL bulb. Hint- To compare apples to apples when purchasing bulbs, look at lumens. This is a measure of the “light” that the bulb puts off.
- Apply caulk and/or weather-stripping to windows and doors that leak.
- Seal plumbing penetrations
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch gaskets
- Caulk lighting and fan penetrations
- Seal leaky baseboards
- Seal furnace closets and attic access with weather stripping
Insulation - Insulation is a product that slows heat transfer. The more insulation you have, or the higher R-value, the longer it will take hot air to transfer to cold air. New Construction Code requires R-30 in the attic and R-19 in the walls. To achieve energy star rating you need an R-38 in the attic. Properly insulating your home is a primary way to reduce energy costs while making your home more comfortable. Properly insulating ducts, pipes and your hot water heater will also help lower your energy bills.
Radiant Barrier - Radiant barrier foil products such as Energy Q can block 97% of the sun’s radiant heat. Radiant barrier paint products can block 70-75% of radiant heat. Applying these materials can add a comfort level to your home and lower your energy usage by keeping this heat out of your home.
Solar Attic Fans- The temperature in an attic can get as high as 150 degrees during the summer. Attic fans work to pull this hot air out, helping to lower the temperature. The cooler the attic, the less heat there is to transfer to the conditioned part of your home. Solar attic fans can do this with no added energy cost.
Solar Attic Fans - The temperature in an attic can get as high as 150 degrees during the summer. Attic fans work to pull this hot air out, helping to lower the temperature. The cooler the attic, the less heat there is to transfer to the conditioned part of your home. Solar attic fans can do this with no added energy cost.
More tips for lowering your energy usage
- Let the air flow. Keep air vents open
- set thermostat @78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Unplug electronics and phone chargers when they are not in use.
- Open blinds/drapes to allow in sunlight for solar heat gain during colder days. Keep them closed during hot, sunny days.
- Make sure appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly maintained.
- Clean and replace filters as instructed.
- When buying new appliances or windows look for an Energy Star label.
- Please visit the Department of Energy website to continue to educate yourself on ways to lower your energy usage in your home and everyday life.