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Is Your Home Energy Efficient? Here Are Some Tips

by Kuhrich on Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Money is tight. Most of us don’t have enough to waste on a house that is not efficient in how it uses energy. There are a number of ways that you can make your home more energy efficient, whether it’s a custom home or part of a tract of cookie-cutter houses. Sure, you can go out and buy a handful (or truck full) of “Energy Star” rated appliances and at least your appliances will be more energy efficient. However, this does nothing for the energy efficiency of your house itself.

Insulating Can Save Serious Money

Most homeowners, especially those that live where the weather can be vicious, already know that insulating their home is a great way to make the house more energy efficient. Attics and sometimes even walls either have the R-value of their current insulation upgraded or, especially with older houses, insulation installed for the first time. But walls and ceilings/roofs aren’t the only places that energy, and hence money, can fly out of your house, especially if you live somewhere that has serious winter weather.

Much of the water distribution piping in your house runs in the attic, a space that normally isn’t insulated much from the weather outside. A significant amount of money every year can be saved simply by wrapping/insulating as much of the hot water piping in your house as you can reach.

The heating and ventilation system in your house probably has most of its duct work in the attic as well, unless it’s an older home, in which case said duct work may be in the basement or crawlspace under the house. Simply wrapping these ducts with a layer or two of insulation can also save a significant amount of money over time.

Seal the Openings to Increase Energy Efficiency

You’re so proud and happy. You’ve gone out and bought double- or triple-pane windows so as to save money on heating and cooling costs. You’ve bought a relatively thick insulated door for each of the exterior doors in your house. But you’ve ignored something almost as important- the seams/doorjambs. Perfom a little test: Next time the thermometer either drops or rises to create a good difference in temperature between the inside and the outside, place a thermometer on a windowsill or right next to a door and see how much of a temperature difference there is between near the ventilation register and the door or window.

Even doors that fit in their jambs perfectly have gaps between the door and the frame that allows the passage of air-cold in during the winter and cold out during the summer. Most owners of custom homes or tract houses can increase their home’s energy efficiency simply by properly sealing around doors and windows. Caulk around window frames and apply sealing strips around the edges of doors.

+Ken Uhrich is lead Estimator and Purchaser at Custom Home Group, a Design/Build company, located in Lancaster County, PA. You can follow Ken on Twitter: @kuhrich Or visit his company website: www.customhomegroup.com