According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's conversation program called Energy Star, 42% of annual energy costs for the typical single-family home are attributed to heating and cooling. During cold snaps and heat waves, the costs to keep your home at comfortable temperatures can have a significant impact on your wallet. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to lower the costs of heating and air conditioning your home so you can save money on energy costs. Here are a few ideas.
Preventing Loss of Heating & AIr Conditioning through Ducts
Did you know that as much as 20-30% of heated and cooled air can be lost as the air moves through the HVAC ducts and finds holes, leaks, and ducts that are poorly connected? The loss can be even more significant when the ducts are not insulated properly. These losses can result in higher energy costs and can lower the life expectancy of your heating and air conditioning systems due to overworking.
Have your HVAC ducts sealed and insulated properly. In order to do this, a contractor will need to fully inspect the duct work. They may need to perform a blower test to determine the exact locations along the duct work that need attention. This is done by temporarily installing a powerful fan in the duct and taking measurements for air loss throughout the home.
Protecting Against Temperature Extremes from Above
The condition of the top of your house—the roofing and the attic—can make a huge impact on your home's heating and air conditioning systems ability to work effectively. Roofing materials absorb energy from the sun, which can make it difficult for your home to cool down and keep cool during the hot months of the summer. In the colder winter months, heat rises to the attic and can escape through the poor roofing materials.
Of course, if your roofing is in disrepair, the most important thing to do is to repair the roof in order to lower the energy costs to heat and cool your home. However, for a bigger impact on savings, consider reflective roof coatings, which are designed to reflect sunlight so your roofing and attic absorb less heat during the summer months. For the winter months, you'll want to be sure to have enough insulation on the floor of your attic so the heat doesn't rise into the attic. Of course, this will help retain heat in your home, but it can also help prevent moisture and condensation from forming in your attic, which is important if you have your roofing coated.
Controlling the Amount of Energy Lost Through the Windows
According to Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, windows lose and gain more heat than any other surface of the home. Windows, therefore, play a significant role in the costs of heating and cooling your home. The costs can be even greater if the windows in your home are old or have leaks. The amount of sunlight entering your home through the windows can increase the temperature of your home in the summer as your air conditioner slaves to lower the temperature. During the winter, the sunlight can be welcomed in helping to heat the home but only if there are no leaks where heat can escape.
While replacing the windows may be ideal in some cases, installing weather stripping and caulking can reduce the leaks around the windows. Also, use draperies to lower the amount of sunlight that enters through the windows in the summer and reduce the amount of drafts around the windows in the winter. Window films and interior storm windows are also methods that can be used to lower your home's heating and air conditioning costs.