Your Guide to More Efficient Heating and Cooling

If you’re trying to understand how to use energy more effectively in your home, one of the first things you need to think about is your home’s heating and cooling methods. That’s because heating and cooling is one of the things that will utilize the most energy in your home, especially if you live in a place where it often gets very cold, very warm, or both. Here’s what you need to know about crafting your unique guide to heating and cooling from an energy-efficient standpoint.

What Is Thermal Efficiency?

First and foremost, you might want to know what thermal efficiency is. If you don’t know what thermal efficiency is, how will you be able to achieve it in your home? Thermal efficiency may sound like a technical term, but it’s actually pretty easy to understand.

At a baseline, thermal efficiency is about how good your home is at retaining thermal energy. A home that has gaps in the doors and windows, open air vents in the crawl space, poorly-insulated walls, and open vents in the attic will have very low levels of thermal efficiency. On the other hand, a home with great insulation and no venting spaces will typically have much higher levels of thermal efficiency.

You’re always going to have some amount of thermal loss. Thermal equilibrium is always the ideal for any two areas that are hot and cool. You’re trying to thwart the process of thermal equilibrium, which certainly isn’t easy. However, with an energy-efficient heating and cooling system, you can make it less likely that you’ll see very rapid thermal loss.

Ideally, you want a system with the highest possible thermal efficiency. That means stopping thermal loss anywhere it happens, taking advantage of tips and tricks to avoid thermal loss overall, and generally making it easier for your home to maintain its ideal temperature.

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How Has Your Home Been Losing Energy?

There are some areas that are more likely to lose energy than others in your home. These “energy vulnerabilities” will be unique for each home, and no two homes are likely to have exactly the same vulnerabilities. However, there are areas that may be more common. That includes these areas, which tend to have issues.

● Duct Register
● Plumbing Vent Stack
● Top Plate
● Vent Fan
● Sill Plate
● Dryer Vent
● Crawl Space
● Doors
● Windows

Aside from just areas where air may escape your home or enter into the home, there are also other reasons that you might be losing energy. These energy vulnerabilities may come in the form of a variety of missteps for your home’s construction. For example, you may see energy vulnerability come through because of these elements.

● A lack of proper insulation
● Gaps in building materials
● Cracks and drafts
● Materials that aren’t energy-efficient

Regardless of the reason that you’re losing energy in and around your home, it’s crucial that you’re able to tackle the problem from the start. However, many people don’t know where they’re having energy vulnerabilities. This is why it can be so beneficial to hire an expert to give you more information about your home’s thermal issues.

What Can You Do to Improve Energy Efficiency?

One thing many people want to know is what they can do to maximize their home’s energy efficiency. It’s true that this isn’t a weekend project, and if you really want to make sure your home is as efficient as possible, you need to put a lot of time and energy into it. However, there are a variety of ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Consider a few of these options.

● Crawl space insulation and encapsulation: 20%
● Sealing air leaks using caulk, spray foam, and weather stripping: Between 5-30%
● Installing storm windows: Between 12-33%
● Using a programmable thermostat to turn down energy usage as you sleep: 10%
● Adding an EnergyStar gas furnace to your home: 15%

The benefits you’ll receive from these options may vary. As you can see, sealing air leaks can do as little as 5% or as much as around 30% to maximize your home’s energy efficiency. It’s important to note that the energy efficiency of any specific option will depend on whether it’s actually fixing any of the problems that you’re having.

Additionally, it can be helpful to understand how thermal performance works in the home. Thermal performance has to do with a few simple concepts, especially the concept that hot air rises. Depending on whether it’s the summer or the winter, you may either have an upward draft as the warm air in your home tries to escape or a downward draft as the warm air from outside rushes in.

One thing that can absolutely benefit your home’s energy efficiency is insulating and encapsulating your crawl space. If you have a crawl space, especially one with open vents, you’re creating a simple path for air to rush in and out of the home. Instead, encapsulating your crawl space makes it more difficult for air to come in and out, regardless of its temperature. Insulating and encapsulating your crawl space can reduce your energy costs by as much as 20% overall.

Home’s Energy Efficiency

What Is the Value of Your Home’s Energy Efficiency?

Why might you want to invest in energy efficient home options? There are actually a variety of things that can make it a good idea to invest in the energy efficiency of your home. There’s not just one angle to investing in energy efficiency. Here are some of the top reasons that you might want to invest in your energy efficiency.
● Because you’ll pay less in electricity usage every month, your upgrades may pay for themselves.
● You might be able to claim a tax credit for a percentage of the money that you put toward insulating your home.
● Maximizing your energy efficiency is good for the environment.
● When you have better thermal efficiency, you’ll have a more comfortable living space overall.

As you can see, energy efficiency pays off for more reasons than one. It’s becoming more and more common to see people who opt for energy efficient home opportunities explicitly because it makes more financial sense. Reducing your energy bills every month is a great way to lower the amount of money you spend on your necessities.

Additionally, if you have better thermal efficiency, you’re more likely to have a truly comfortable living space. You may be able to afford to turn up the AC on especially hot days or turn up the heater on especially cold days. Plus, the home is much more likely to retain that heat or cold, so you don’t have to run it for extended periods of time.

It’s hard to overestimate the value of energy efficiency. When you have an energy efficient home, you’re more likely to feel more comfortable, spend less money, and have a lower environmental impact. Those are all great things. Why wouldn’t you choose to utilize all of these things for your home? It’s a great way to get the most out of your home.

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Is It Worth It to Invest in Thermal Efficiency?

From all these points, you can probably come to your own conclusion that it’s definitely worth it to invest in thermal efficiency for your home. There are all sorts of reasons that you might want to invest in thermal efficiency, but the bottom line is that it’s more cost-effective, has a lower impact on the environment, and makes your home feel even better. These are all great elements for your home.

It’s important to note that there will almost always be an up-front cost for investing in thermal efficiency. For example, if you need to encapsulate your crawl space, you’re going to have to pay for that. If you really don’t know whether you’ll be able to pay that cost, you may want to talk to the repair experts to get options for financing opportunities that you may be able to take advantage of.

It’s also crucial that you invest in thermal efficiency options that will really work for your home. Different homes have different thermal efficiency concerns — for example, if you’ve recently replaced all the insulation in your home, you probably won’t get a lot of benefit from replacing the insulation again. This is one of the reasons that you really need to talk to an expert team to help you get more information about your thermal efficiency options.

Conclusion

Coming to your own conclusions on any home repair is definitely crucial. You don’t want to trust the first person who says anything about your home repair needs. There’s always a possibility that person is trying to get you to do something that will benefit them. However, coming to your own conclusions should always derive information from knowledgeable sources.

All the most knowledgeable sources say one thing: improving your thermal efficiency can only be a good thing. As long as you’re always paying attention to what the experts recommend and getting your advice from a hands-on expert source, you can get the best benefits from thermal efficiency every time.