You’ve heard the cliche: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When it comes to your home’s energy efficiency, no maxim could be more appropriate. You might think of the various components of your home–the heating and cooling system, the windows, the insulation and ductwork–as separate entities. But in fact, they work together to optimize or undermine your home’s energy efficiency. An improvement in one area affects the performance of other components. New windows, for example, ease your furnace’s workload. Try taking a whole-house approach to energy efficiency. Here are the steps:
Seal Your Home’s Air Leaks
Air has a tendency to flow from warm areas to cool areas. That means the air you pay to heat in the winter will flow outside via breaches in your outer envelope. Heat from the outside will flow in via those same breaches in the summer. To curb this:
- Seal cracks on your home’s exterior, taking care to evaluate places where different building materials meet. Fill openings with caulk.
- Inside your home, seal around windows and doors, using weatherstripping and caulk. Also check spots where pipes, wiring and cables penetrate exterior walls.
Address Your Ductwork
Leaking ductwork is a drain on your heating and cooling systems, as they must work harder to bring the home to the desired temperature. Inspect your ductwork for loose connections, holes and rips. Seal the rips and holes with mastic and mesh or heat-resistant tape. Have your HVAC-system professional seal leaks in hard-to-access ductwork and insulate the ducts.
Improve Your Insulation
Make sure your attic is properly insulated to a level of R-30 or more. This will reduce the attic heat load in the summer and ease your air conditioner’s workload. In the winter, it will keep heat from drifting through your ceiling.
Evaluate Your Windows
If you can’t replace your single-pane windows with Energy Star units, seal them as tightly as possible with caulk. Use thermal shades to keep the heat out in the summer. Open the curtains and blinds in the winter to let the heat from the sun in.
Address Your HVAC-System Needs
Properly maintaining your HVAC equipment improves its efficiency. Maintenance you can do yourself includes replacing the air filters on your furnace and air conditioner, keeping the A/C condenser clean and the fins straight and cleaning the condensate lines. Make sure your HVAC technician tunes up your equipment in the spring and in the fall.
When you’re upgrading or replacing lights and appliances, choose energy-efficient models. Do the same when you’re upgrading your HVAC system.
For additional information on the whole-house approach to energy efficiency, contact CCAC. We serve homeowners throughout the Corpus Christi area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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