5 Energy Saving Tips For New Homeowners
There are several things to consider when purchasing a new home. However, people admit they aren’t giving much thought to the level of comfort in their homes during the colder seasons. A lot of properties are purchased during the summer so comfort in the cold seasons isn’t exactly a priority. In fact, the period from May to July accounts for more than 40% of annual home sales.
When it comes to expenses though, everyone cares about the energy bill. It’s only natural, and it’s why people are always looking for energy saving tips. Energy efficiency is highly important to all homeowners, especially new owners. So, when investing in a property, it is very important for homeowners to consider several aspects like energy-efficient appliances or solid roofing. However, during the colder seasons, like fall or winter, comfort, in addition to efficiency, becomes increasingly important.
It is during this time that people start noticing things like a cold draft, high heating bills, the difference in temperature between floors, and so on. Each home requires different considerations, especially when making preparations for the cold season. It’s true that making big improvements right after moving in can be quite difficult, especially from a budget perspective. But, you can make small energy-saving changes, which are not that costly and can make your home a lot more comfortable.
1. Seal Air Leaks With Caulk
Cold drafts in your home, together with some of the crown molding trim are clear signs that you need to look for air leaks. Once you identify them, you should seal them with caulk. This is a simple and effective solution that can bring about other benefits too. It’s important to limit the amount of air that leaks in and out of your house because this is how you can cut down on your heating and cooling expenses, increase the level of comfort in your home, improve durability and create a healthier indoor environment. The caulking method is a simple and effective way to seal the air leaks, offering you a fast return on investment.
2. Weatherstrip Windows That Leak Air
Another method for you to stop air leaks, that is just as simple and effective as caulking, is weatherstripping. This technique can be used in your home to stop air leaks around doors or operable windows. Plus, window weatherstripping can be easily found at your local hardware store and you can install yourself, which of course is a huge advantage.
Weatherstripping is a viable solution for movable building components. However, for stationary ones, it would be better to use caulks for filling cracks and gaps. Before applying weatherstripping, make sure you first detect the air leaks and take the time to assess your ventilation.
Use weatherstripping that can withstand weather, temperature changes, friction, and wear and tear associated with its location. When applied on a threshold, it can erode the carpet due to foot traffic. Also, when applying it in a window sash, you need to accommodate the sliding of panels.
3. Use Foam Sealant On Larger Gaps
Foam sealant is a highly effective solution for sealing gaps that are large and allow air to leak out. Usually, the attic is accessible through the upper floor’s ceiling. And this is usually where a significant amount of heat is lost, through the access panel. In order to fix it, you can use a foam sealant to seal the gaps around the panel. Another idea would be to install an insulating cover box, located on your attic access stairs.
Installing an insulating cover box and sealing gaps in the opening can both increase comfort and save energy and money. The attic stairs cover box should:
- offer an air seal.
- have an R-value similar to the rest of the attic insulation
- be durable enough to endure repeated openings and closings
4. Cover Drafty Windows
To improve the comfort level in your home, as well as lower your heating and cooling bills, window coverings are definitely a solution, as they can reduce energy loss. It’s a fact that about 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows. So, investing in curtains and blinds is also something you might want to consider. In cold seasons, around 6% of the sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters the house and becomes heat.
It is true that window treatments in general result in energy savings. However, the amount of savings depends on the climate, season, and how the attachment is used. Additionally, storm windows with low e-coatings are effective when it comes to improving the thermal performance of windows.
5. Install Foam Gaskets
When checking your home, you might discover that your walls aren’t adequately insulated. If this is the case, you should consider installing foam gaskets behind outlets, together with switch pallets. Later on, you should however consider adding more insulation. But, for the time being, adding foam gaskets around electrical outlets is a low-cost solution, and it provides protection from air leaks.
Covering your floors with carpets and using padded rug backings is definitely something you should consider. This quick solution can also keep out the cold.
While all these tips can have a positive effect on the level of comfort in your home, as well as lower your bills, you should definitely consider conducting a home energy audit to figure out where you can save more energy. Plus, an energy audit can show you where large investments can be made, leading to further energy savings.