Hidden Heating and Cooling Energy Loss Could be Costing you Hundreds of Dollars a Year
These days, every dollar matters when it comes to your monthly budget. Wages are stagnant and inflation is on the rise which means that money is tighter for most Americans. While there are many forces beyond our control when it comes to how far our money goes, there are ways that we can control our spending. This is especially true when it comes to the energy consumption within our homes. Many of us have upgraded to LED light bulbs, installed high efficiency heating and cooling systems, and drive fuel efficient vehicles to curb the ever rising costs of being an American in 2018. That being said, even if you have upgraded your heating and cooling system to the highest efficiency available, your home still could be robbing you of hundreds of dollars a year through hidden energy loss.
What is Hidden Heating and Cooling Energy Loss & How Can I Stop It?
Did you know that Americans spend over $29 billion on air conditioning their homes each year? That is an astounding figure. Now let’s think about heating. That number get’s even bigger. We all get the sticker shock during the hottest summer months when we see our bills. Now imagine how shocking it would be to learn that you are spending more because you are not aware of how to deal with hidden problems that are adding up. What problems am I speaking of? Hidden Energy Loss of course! You experience hidden energy costs when you don’t keep up on regular maintenance of HVAC systems, your home is under insulated, you have gaps that allow air to escape, and more. For example, did you know that you could save as much as 5 – 15 percent of your energy costs if you just changed your clogged filter on a regular basis?
Start Your Investigation
If you suspect that your home is robbing you of your hard earned money, it is time for you to take steps to remedy the situation. Fortunately, there are many steps an average homeowner can take to stop the financial drain. Some helpful ways to begin are as follows:
- Find Air Leaks: Air leaks are perhaps the most obvious reason for higher heating and cooling costs. If you notice dust streaks, can hear outside noise, or your home never quite feels comfortable air leakage is the likely culprit. Large leaks can be found by holding a candle or a stick of incense around door and window jams. If you see the smoke or candle moving, you have leaks. If you are more handy, you can rent a blower door, or a fog machine to identify leaks that you might miss with the previously mentioned method. once you’ve found the leaks, you have to fix them. New weather stripping for doors, gaskets for electrical outlets, and caulk for windows and outside doors. Investing time and a small amount of money can end up saving you big in the long run.
- Insulation gaps: Add more insulation where needed in your home. You can identify gaps in insulation with a thermal imaging camera, or by simply observing snow melting patterns on your roof. If your upstairs is too hot in the summer, you can add a radiant barrier to the underside of your roof joists, or you can have a professional use spray insulation on the bottom of the roof decking. If you have insulation gaps in your walls, you can add more by using blow-cellulose or fiberglass.
- Test Your Heating and Cooling System: Many homes in America have heating and cooling systems that are way too big for their space. Purchase a data logger and measure the amount of time your furnace or air conditioner runs. If your unit is running half an hour of every hour during the most extreme condtions (hottest or coldest day) your system is oversized. Talk to a HVAC company to verify your findings.
- Install a Smart Thermostat: Installing a smart, wifi thermostat can provide you with additional savings. You will get all of the benefits of a standard programmable thermostat, but with a whole lot more. These devices offer data analytics, remote control, and advanced features such as adjusting the temperature when you are on your way home from work. Many Utility companies offer rebates that can make these devices more affordable.
When it comes to saving money on your monthly budget, there are ways to squeeze more out of each dollar. Killing any hidden heating and cooling energy loss in your home is a great way to do so. If you have performed some of the above procedures and still suspect a larger problem, contact a home energy audit professional. For those of you who are interested in installing a high efficiency air conditioner or furnace, contact us today!