Everyone wants to spend less on their utility costs by using less energy. This doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing the use of your heating and cooling system. There are things you can do to help your home retain heat in the winter and stay cooler in the summer.
By following seven simple practices, you can save hundreds of dollars throughout the year.
1. Know When It’s Time to Install Insulation
Even though insulation should last for decades, if it becomes damaged, it will need to be replaced. Occasionally, check your attic insulation for dampness, mold, or other signs of damage. If you do see a problem, you might need to schedule roof repairs before installing new insulation.
Taking care of the leak first will ensure your new insulation will last longer.
2. Use More than One Type of Insulation
When insulating an attic, batt and roll insulation is commonly used to cover the majority of surfaces. However, this type of insulation won’t help protect areas where pipes, vents, and wires lead out of the home. Leaving these areas unprotected will cause air leaks that increase your energy usage.
The best alternative is to protect these areas with spray foam insulation. Once the foam hardens, it creates a strong barrier that will prevent treated air from escaping the home.
3. Use Foam Board Insulation to Seal Unused Doors
If you have an unused backdoor or a side door on your home, consider closing it off. Your insulation contractor can cut a piece of foam board to fit over a screen door. You can put the foam board in place for the winter season, or you can keep it up year-round for better energy efficiency in the summer and winter.
4. Insulate Your Wiring and Pipes
When you ask your contractor to install insulation in your home, ask them about insulating your home's plumbing pipes and electrical wires. Pipes and wires typically run through attic or basement space. These areas experience more extreme temperatures at different times of the year.
Your contractor can insulate the individual pipes and wiring to protect them from temperature-related damage. This ensures your household will use these resources with greater efficiency.
5. Block an Unused Chimney
If you have a fireplace in your home that you don’t use, you’re leaving a big space that will exchange indoor treated air with the air outside the home. Talk to your insulation installer about blocking this space with a chimney balloon. The balloon will fill the space and help your home retain more heat in the winter.
6. Install New Weatherstripping
Keep an eye on weatherstripping around your door and window frames. If the material looks worn, frayed, or flat, it may be time to have it replaced. New weatherstripping will protect your home from common air leaks in these areas.
7. Invest in a Door Snake
Sometimes the simplest tips are the best, and that’s the case with the recommendation for a door snake. You can find door snakes of every style at department stores, hardware stores, or through online shopping sites.
Just lay the snake down at the base of the door to prevent drafts. The snake is effective in preventing treated air from escaping your home as well. You can close off the smallest of gaps with this inexpensive energy efficiency hack.
Stay Alert to Energy Use Changes
You should also pay close attention to your energy bills from month to month. While some changes may be due to rising costs, significant increases suggest a problem in the home. For example, your HVAC system may be failing, or you could have damaged insulation that is no longer able to protect your home as it should.
When you look for the cause and correct it, you can bring your energy usage under control.