The Effects of Energy Efficiency Home Improvement
If you own a home that you sometimes find draughty and expensive to heat - then you could benefit from carrying out energy efficient home improvements. An energy efficient home is not only more environmentally responsible, it is also much more economical in the long run. When you take steps to stop air leaks and improve the insulation in your attic, basement and walls, these steps can mean your house stays warmer and you are more comfortable through the winter months when those cold winds seem to seep in from the outside.
Be assured, steps taken to improve energy efficiency is likely to be far more beneficial than you realize particularly in an older home. Indeed, effects are likely to be as far reaching as helping to create a viable home performance industry while improving our environment.
What is energy efficient home improvement?
Energy efficient home improvement is about creating a home that is comfortable and uses less energy to heat and cool, because it is well sealed against air leaks and well insulated against heat transfer. When a home is poorly insulated, the use of a heating system can be undermined by loss of heat through lack of insulation in the walls and attic, poorly fitted windows and doors that let in draughts and so on. By taking measures to correct these problems, you'll be able to improve the energy efficiency of your home - and that can mean significant savings on energy bills. The following are some of the ways in which you can improve the energy efficiency of your home:
Diagnostic Tools The best way to address problems in older homes or homes that have few energy efficiency measures taken during construction is through running some diagnostic tests to find the home's 'weak points' when it comes to energy efficiency. These tests can assess how tightly the home is sealed and pinpoint the locations where hot air is escaping from the home. These tests examined areas such as ductwork systems, attics/roofs, basements, exterior wall cavities, utilities entry points and so on. Ultimately, the tests will determine how efficient or inefficient for that matter your home is; whether you have drafts that is allowed to come in unhindered, whether or not you have insulation in your attic or walls and whether you have insulating windows and well sealed doors etc.
Window insulations - When you have windows that are not insulated, you can experience loss of heat in two ways. First, if your windows are older (such as on a traditional, character home) then you may get heat loss via gaps or spaces around the window. Second, the home may have single glazed windows which lose heat via heat transfer. The Repairing or replacing of older windows with energy efficient ones can help to prevent further loss of heat; which in turn can improve the comfort of your home. To address the second issue, you may opt to have the windows double or triple glazed (using heat reflecting glass), or have polythene insulation installed to help minimise heat transfer and keep the maximum amount of heat inside your home. Other applications such as heavy drapes across the windows during the winter can also further reduce heat loss to the outside.
Door insulations - If you have glass doors, then many of the same principles apply to insulating these as you would your windows. Additionally, draft proofing or weather stripping is one of the simple things you may want to consider when air sealing your homes; Preventing draughts from entering rooms also means preventing heat from escaping. These applications are quick and simple to install and they can make a big difference to your home. It is also possible to carry out improvements to your home by having insulated outer doors installed by a professional. Some of these doors are solid, sturdy doors that will help to reduce heat loss because they contain insulation within their core.
Air sealing - This process refers to the sealing of the less obvious draft spots in the home. If you have a draft under a door, you may be able to stop it with a weather strip, but a significant amount of heat loss can take place via gaps and holes in basements, crawl spaces and attics or lofts. In order to eliminate heat loss in these locations, it is worthwhile to hire a contractor to assess your home for leakage, carry out sealing around areas where leaks are identified is very essential to improving the home's energy performance. A professional can seal your home quite tightly to improve energy efficiency and prevent loss of heat from these locations.
Duct sealing - If you have reverse cycle air conditioning ducted system in your home, there is a possibility that you will experience issues of heat loss via poorly sealed openings, gaps around the seals of the ducts and so on. If you have an older home that is prone to be draughty, then chances are you are letting a lot of money slip through your fingers, heating a home that is releasing a large proportion of that heat outside conditioned space. The long-term cost of this could be significant when compared to the ease of sealing leaky ducts. A professional home performance improvement contractor can help you assess the loss via the ducts and other areas and can help you to correct these problems without inhibiting the function of the system.
Roof/Attic - Insulation in the attic is one of the most effective insulation procedure; helping to keep the warmth in during the cold months and the heat out in the hot months. If you insulate your attic you would be creating one of the most important cost savers for an energy efficient home,for heat loss through the attic can account for up to 20% of the loss of heat from the home. Insulation products for the roof can include traditional fiber glass or you may opt for a more environmentally friendly option such as cellulose which is pulverized recycled newspaper treated with fire and mold spores retardants. This works more efficiently than the regular fiberglass insulation when dense pack, in addition its production is less damaging to the environment as it is biodegradable.
Wall insulation - Wall cavities in your house can act in a similar way to double glazing, dense packed these cavities with blown-in cellulose insulation and boost the energy efficiency of your home. Some new homes may have been built with energy saving measure already in place, however older (existing) homes all across the country may have to have this done to achieve desired energy efficiency.
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