With our heightened concerns for saving money, the idea of energy efficiency seems to pop up more and more when looking at home articles. However, do you really know how to make your home more energy efficient?
Energy efficient housing is beneficial not only for the winter time but also in the heat of the summer. Most of the things that keep your house warm when the temperature outside is cold will keep the heat outside in the summer as well. The energy required in heating up or cooling down your home can cost a bundle and is usually one of the largest ways that you can make a difference to the energy efficiency of your home.
For most people, the most obvious way to make your home more energy efficient is to reduce the amount of transfer between the indoor and outdoor temperatures. Increasing your home's insulation as well as making sure that you have properly sealed windows, doors, and vents are all good ways at reducing heat loss or gain in your home. A less obvious way to reduce that transfer is by making sure that you have properly sealed thermal windows in your home. Any units that may have lost their seal will not help to reduce heat gain or loss to the same extent that well sealed units in non-metal frames will.
The main thing to remember when you've got your house all sealed up like your grandma's couch under plastic is that there will be no transfer between the air in your home and the air outside. While this is good news in regards to heat, it's bad news for air quality. So, the best compromise to this situation is ventilation with a heat recovery system. These systems have a simple counter-flow heat exchanger that transfers the warmth between inbound and outbound air. A good ventilation system can also help prevent build up of volatile organic compounds. In a tightly sealed home a dehumidifier might also be an essential appliance; high humidity can cause problems with mold and mildew.
Some other great ideas for helping keep your home more energy efficient are passive strategies. These passive methods include creative use of window coverings, keeping the heat in or out of your home depending on the season. Landscaping can be a great way to moderate the temperature in your home as well; deciduous trees can shade the sunny areas of your home in the summer while allowing the light and heat of the sun into your home in the winter time when it's welcome.
Energy Star appliances can, for an investment, help your home be more efficient as well. Most appliances are available in an Energy Star rated version which can help you save a fair amount of cash, particularly if you're upgrading from a really old inefficient model. Remember as well that using your appliances less can also make a difference. Wash only full loads in your washing machine or dishwasher, and turn off the drying cycle in the dishwasher. You'll reduce the amount of energy used in your household and also the amount of heat and humidity released as well.
If you take on one area to reduce energy usage or heat transfer in your home at a time as you can afford to, then you will see a reduction in your energy bills. How much you can save often depends on how much you can invest into new appliances because the most efficient ones are usually more expensive. However, any improvements that you make to your home is an investment, not only in regards to your own energy bills but also as home improvements that can add value to your home and in some cases qualify you for a tax break.
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