In South Jersey we have to deal with both high heat and humidity and extreme cold. Improving your homes energy efficiency is going to pay for it self very quickly.
The greatest source of energy loss, whether it is cool or warm air, is through the cracks and spaces in your doors, windows, ceilings, and floors. Many community organizations, utility companies, or heating and cooling companies offer complimentary or low cost energy audits to help you identify- and rectify the areas of your home that are energy inefficient. You can solve some of your heating and cooling problems and lower your utility costs by beginning with either a professional or a “Do it Yourself” energy audit.
Begin by closing all your windows and doors. Turn off all your ventilation and fans. Travel from room to room with a lit candle or stick of incense and see where there is some “movement “of air and smoke. These are the spots that are not sealed correctly and your warm or cool air is escaping. Take a close look at your indoor windowsills, as well. If they are very dirty, your windows are not sealed tightly enough.
You can, of course, replace all your doors and windows. If you choose this option, make sure they are installed properly. Poorly or incorrectly, installed doors and windows are a leading cause of energy loss. If you need a less expensive alternative, your local hardware store can provide you with inexpensive clear plastics sheets to cover your windows for the winter. This will help keep your warm air inside and the cold air outside.
Correctly sealing and then insulating your ducts can save your as much as 17% in your home energy costs. Duct mastic and aerosol sealant are inexpensive ways toe effectively seal your ducts and they are readily available at your local hardware store. Contrary to popular belief, duct tape is not designed for sealing air ducts and vents.
Use weather-strips to fill in any cracks around the borders of your doors and windows.
You can use caulk to seal small cracks and expanding foam to seal larger ones. Both caulk and sealing foam is available at your local hardware store. Adding heavy drapes or blinds to your windows also act as a physical barrier. If you have bare floors, consider adding rugs to keep your heat in your home, and add more insulation to the ceiling of your basement. Finally, you can make sure your flues for chimneys and fireplaces are closed.
If your furnace and heating system is older than 15 years, needs constant repairs, or you find your home is heated unevenly, it may be time to replace your furnace or heating system. Professional heating and air conditioning companies in you local area can help you find the right heating system. Today’s energy efficient systems offer not only environmental benefits, but also economic benefits.
Energy star rated furnaces are 15% more efficient than older, standard furnaces and Energy Star boilers offer a 5% increase in energy efficiency and cost savings. While home weatherizing can offer substantial savings, sometimes you’ll need to explore a bigger, more long term investment.