While the current low temps and high wind chill may say otherwise, spring is right around the corner! We can’t promise blooming flowers and sunny days just yet, but we can say that springtime is the perfect time to buckle down on any energy efficient home improvement projects before the summer heat waves begin. Keep reading and check out some of the energy efficient home improvements to tackle this spring.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
We're sure that you've seen one of these in a friend's or family member's home. They're becoming more common in different types of households for a reason. With a programmable thermostat, you literally have total control of when your temperature rises or lowers when no one is home or in the middle of the night. At different times of the day, you can reach your home's optimal temperature while saving money! The best part, once you program your thermostat once, it's a smooth ride from there as no additional manual adjustments will be required.
Layer Up Your Attic's Insulation
Did you know that some newer homes still do not contain sufficient insulation in the room below the roof? If you're not layering up your attic's insulation, you could be losing quite a bit of heat on days your heater is on. When you're adding that extra layer, remember to follow these precautions:
- Wear a long-sleeve shirt, gloves, eye protection and a dust mask.
- Make sure you use an unfaced batt (one without a paper or foil layer) so the insulation does not trap moisture in the ceiling.
- Lay the batts perpendicular to the joists so they do not compress the insulation below.
- Use cardboard or rigid-foam baffles to keep soffit vents open.
- Fill all cracks between the living area and the attic with caulk or expanding foam.
The Department of Energy estimates that a properly insulated attic can shave 10 to 50 percent off your heating bill. And it works the opposite way for warm climates; in summer, it helps stabilize your house's indoor temps to keep cooling needs in check.
Consider an Energy Audit
Testing and trying the integrity of your home's energy appliances may be all you need to create an efficient checklist of what needs to go, be replaced or checked out further by a professional. The auditor will use thermographic imaging and air-leakage testers on windows, floors, doors, skylights and walls. The findings will indicate which areas waste the most energy and help determine how to reduce costs. Some utility companies may offer free audits, but they may not be as thorough as other businesses who solely dedicate their services to energy audits.
Install Storm Windows
While we're still a few months away from the beginning of Hurricane Season, take a leap in protecting your home by installing new storm windows. Not only do they serve as a preventative measure, but low-emissivity (low-E) storm windows can lower your utility bill just as much as replacing an entire window. According to the Department of Energy, the special coating on these windows improves it's insulation ability, in turn lowering your heating and cooling costs. On average, low-e storm windows can save you 12%–33% in heating and cooling costs. This equates to $120–$330 in annual savings, assuming a $1,000 annual heating/cooling bill. Quick Tip: When installing any storm window, there’s a risk of condensation developing between the existing window and the storm window. To minimize this risk, ensure that the original window is as airtight as possible by caulking the tops and sides (jambs and head). Do this before installing the storm window.
Long are the days that tank water heaters were a must in every home. Go tankless this spring by installing a water heating system that will give you the ability to run hot water on demand. The system alone is 30% more efficient than the standard water heater, saving you about $100 a year or more.
Over time, your A/C's coils can collect dust and debris. The evaporator coils, being indoors, attract mostly dust. But the outdoor condenser coils can become full of dirt, grass trimmings and even leaves. This build-up impedes airflow and blocks heat transfer. Meaning that your air conditioner won’t be able to cool your home as efficiently. What's shocking is that every year you skip maintenance, your air conditioner’s operating efficiency can decrease by 5%. If you're a Frontier Utilities customer in the CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric and Texas-New Mexico Power region you may be eligible for a complimentary CoolSaver A/C Tune-up. Valued at $120, check out this deal here: http://bit.ly/FrontierCoolSaver
Treescape Your Home
By literally adding more green around your home, you can benefit from saving quite a bit of money every year! Wind chill is a very real thing for houses. Start by planing shrubs closer together usually to the north and northwest of the house as this will beat back those nasty winter winds that force your heating system to work overtime. The opposite thing to consider is shade. Everyone loves their daily dose of vitamin D, but same way your house can get wind chill, it can also overheat. Tree shade can drop the surrounding temperature by six degrees! For this cause, you don't need to densely plant your shade trees, but be strategic in what parts of your house you want your shade. While treescaping can be a costly investment, it's one that will not only reduce your energy bills but will greatly reduce your home's value with it's upgraded curb appeal!
Taking a weekend or two to complete these projects will add up in the long run for your wallet. If you're looking to save even further, check out one of our many affordable energy plans that are available for you now: http://bit.ly/FrontierWebEnrollment