Transitioning into a new season can take a toll on you and your wallet. But don’t fret, it’s never too early to start preparing so you can keep those future costs to a minimum.
Early spring flowers are our first sign that summer’s soon approaching, and we’ve got a few tips for conserving energy in your home while trying to stay cool.
Carmine Torio, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association, says one of the most important ways to conserve energy is to make sure you have a certified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor assess your home.
The furnace and air conditioner are the home’s largest uses of energy, he says, and they should be in tiptop condition when in use.
“It’s important to make sure they’re running properly, not just for efficiency purposes, but also the health and safety of the home’s occupants,” Torio says.
As an added touch, the use of a programmable thermostat can keep your cooling costs to a minimum when you set it according to your temperature needs and time of day.
If you decide to contact a home performance contractor, like Unified Comfort Systems, make sure you ask if the company’s employees are energy experts who are certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) and Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).
According to Torio, “these are the national standard for home performance and energy efficiency, and they will look at the home’s overall performance.”
Along with a properly working air conditioner, you also need to make sure your home is well-insulated, Torio says. This means that all windows and doors are properly sealed so no air is escaping. A well-insulated home works year-long in both warm and cool weather.
When it comes to insulating your home, some of the top areas to pay attention to include:
- Bad seals around doors and windows
- Ineffective dampers in chimneys and fireplaces
- Unsealed attic hatches and attic ladders
- Drop soffits above bathroom and kitchen cabinets
- Chimney, plumbing and electrical chase ways.
The attic is probably the largest source of energy loss in the home, and Torio says it’s one of the biggest priorities for insulation.
“This will get the homeowner the biggest bang for their buck, but there are several different materials available,” he says. “Make sure your contractor is familiar with all of the options available and can help point you in the direction of what best suits your home’s situation and price range.”
Finally, natural or built-in shading is also important for the warmer months. Shading cools your home from the summer heat and ultimately reduces your energy costs.
“That means trees that shade south-facing exposures for part of the day, and awnings or roof lines that extend over windows to shade them,” Torio says. “Two-foot overhangs can also be incorporated into designs.”
/ Writer Samara Sands recently graduated from KSU with a bachelor’s in newspaper journalism.
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