Pump up Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with These Projects

Pump up Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with These Projects

Roughly 50% of residential energy consumption in the US is allocated for heating and cooling purposes. Another 18% is used for water heating, while electronics, lighting, and appliances utilize the remaining 35%. Despite their higher cost, various methods can be employed to decrease energy consumption, including implementing energy-efficient lighting options and investing in high-efficiency appliances.

Are you looking to improve your home energy efficiency?

Start with an energy audit. Older homes waste more energy due to inadequate insulation and outdated heating and cooling systems.However, even newer homes can benefit from energy-saving upgrades.

Fortunately, many professionals can perform energy audits. HVAC contractors and local utility boards often offer this service. During an energy audit, a trained professional will identify areas where energy is lost in your home. This could include inefficient windows and doors, outdated HVAC equipment, insufficient insulation, or energy-draining appliances.

At the end of the audit, you will receive a detailed report outlining the energy inefficiencies in your home and providing recommendations on how to address them. Following these recommendations can make your home more energy efficient and save money on your energy bills.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work needed or have a limited budget, it’s essential to prioritize. Focus on projects that will provide the greatest return on investment. Prioritize tasks such as insulating attics, sealing cracks, insulating water heaters, and tuning up your air conditioner. These affordable fixes can save you up to 30% on your energy bills while improving your indoor space’s

Insulation and Air Sealing: Improving Comfort and Efficiency

Insulation is crucial in maintaining indoor comfort by creating a barrier against extreme temperatures. While newer homes are often adequately insulated, older homes may need more proper insulation, particularly in the Phoenix area, where summers can be scorching. Boosting attic insulation is an affordable and effective way to enhance indoor comfort and reduce the strain on air conditioning systems. The Department of Energy recommends R30 to R60 insulation for uninsulated attics and R19 to R25 for wood-frame house flooring in southwest Arizona.

Fortunately, there are various types of insulation materials available:

  • 1. Rolls or batts: These are made of rock wool or fiberglass and come in convenient rolls or batts. They can be easily installed in walls, floors, and ceilings to provide thermal insulation.
  • 2. Blown-in loose fill: This type of insulation, available in fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose, is perfect for filling gaps and cavities in hard-to-reach areas. It can be blown into walls and attics using special equipment for optimal coverage.
  • 3. Rigid foam: Rigid foam insulation, made from polystyrene or polyurethane, provides excellent thermal resistance.

Insulation and Air Sealing

When it comes to DIY projects, adding attic insulation is a breeze. However, for other types of insulation, it is recommended to hire a professional. Blown-in fill is great for hard-to-reach areas like wires, ducts, pipes, and corners. Rigid foam works well for exterior wall sheathing, interior basement wall sheathing, and attic hatches. Foam-in-place can be blown under flooring, into walls, or to fill gaps and cracks around pipes, electrical wiring, or door and window frames.

Improving indoor comfort and energy efficiency can be achieved by sealing air leaks. If you notice drafts or hot spots in your house, it could be due to cracks and holes around doors, windows, electrical outlets, pipes, and ducts. Here are some simple solutions:

  • 1. Apply caulk around doors and windows.
  • 2. Seal gaps where plumbing and wiring pass through walls.
  • 3. Use foam gaskets to insulate electrical outlet.
  • 4. Insulate ducts in your heating and cooling system.
  • 5. Add water heater blankets for storage heaters.
  • 6. Install insulating jackets on water pipes.

Air Conditioning Maintenance

Regular air conditioning maintenance is crucial for saving energy and preventing unexpected breakdowns. One of the most critical maintenance tasks is regularly cleaning the air conditioner filter. This simple act can significantly improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality. When the filter is dirty, it hinders the airflow and allows dust and other contaminants to enter the HVAC system. This can lead to pollutants being deposited in the ducts, coating the coils, and ultimately affecting the air you breathe.
Additionally, dirty coils can cause the compressor to overheat and result in frequent on-and-off cycling.

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your air conditioning unit, it’s recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program to have seasonal maintenance. Many manufacturers also require regular tune-ups to keep warranties valid. During a tune-up, all system elements, including the air conditioner and furnace, are thoroughly inspected. This ensures that
potential issues are identified and resolved before they become significant problems.

Air Conditioning Maintenance Regular maintenance for your HVAC unit is crucial for keeping it operating efficiently and avoiding breakdowns.

Here are some essential tasks to include in your maintenance routine:

  • 1. Clean coils: Clean the coils to ensure optimal heat transfer and efficient cooling. This can prevent energy waste and reduce strain on the system.
  • 2. Clean drip pans and tubing: Clearing the drip pans and tubing of any debris or buildup can prevent clogs and leaks that could damage your unit.
  • 3. Check refrigerant levels: Ensure that your refrigerant levels are at the correct levels to prevent poor cooling performance and potential system damage.
  • 4. Check furnace plenum and housing: Inspect the furnace plenum and housing for any signs of damage or leaks. If any issues are detected, they should be resolved promptly to avoid further damage.
  • 5. Inspect wiring and connections: Check the wiring and connections for any signs of wear or damage. Proper electrical connections are essential for your HVAC unit’s safe and efficient operation.
  • 6. Clean or replace filter: Cleaning or replacing the air filter can improve airflow and increase the efficiency of your unit. This can also help improve indoor air quality.
  • 7. Lubricate fans and blowers: Proper lubrication of fans and blowers can reduce friction and prevents excessive wear

Protect Your Home from Solar Heat Gain

The blazing sun in the desert can cause excessive heat transfer to your home, leading to higher temperatures inside. This can put additional strain on your cooling system, especially during the scorching summer months when temperatures can reach up to 100 degrees F. However, there are effective measures you can take to minimize solar heat gain and enhance the aesthetics of your property at the same time.

Drapes and window coverings can help regulate the temperature inside the house. By keeping them closed during the day, you can prevent heat from entering the house and keep it cool. On cooler days, opening them up can allow sunlight to naturally heat the interior. Exterior window awnings are not only visually appealing additions to the exterior of a house, but they also serve a practical purpose. Placing awnings on south-facing windows can reduce solar gain (the amount of heat that enters the windows) by an impressive 65 percent. For west-facing windows, the reduction in solar gain is even more significant at 77 percent.

Regarding landscaping, trees and plants are often chosen for their aesthetic qualities. However, they also offer several energy-saving benefits. Strategically placing trees around a house can provide shade, significantly reducing the energy needed to cool the home. Trees can shade the roof, doors, and windows, saving up to 25 percent of the energy used by a household. Additionally, shaded surfaces by
trees can be up to 20 to 45 degrees cooler than unshaded surfaces during peak sun times. The ground under trees can also be as much as 25 degrees cooler than the outside air temperature.

Placing plants and shrubs strategically around your house can have multiple benefits. For starters, they can help lower ground temperatures by up to 9 degrees, significantly cooling the air before it reaches your walls or windows. Additionally, plants can provide shade on walls when grown on trellises, preventing radiant heat from penetrating the inside of your building. This can help keep your home cooler and reduce the need for excessive air conditioning.

When choosing plants for your landscaping, it’s important to select species that are well-adapted to your specific area and are drought tolerant. This will ensure your plants can thrive with minimal water requirements, saving you time, money, and precious resources.

Learn more about your home’s energy efficiency in Phoenix to reduce energy usage Energy-efficient HVAC units, such as those with dual-stage compressors, provide better temperature control and humidity regulation. Instead of delivering a blast of cold air and then turning it off, these units adjust their output based on the changing temperatures. They operate at a lower speed 80 percent of the time but can switch to a higher speed when more cooling is needed. This results in better comfort for you and your family and a significant increase in energy efficiency.

By upgrading to a dual-stage cooling system, you can expect a 40 percent increase in efficiency compared to conventional air conditioners. While the unit’s initial cost may seem high, the savings on your utility bills will quickly offset the expense. Many homeowners find that the price of the new unit is paid back within just a few years.

To find out more about how we can help you save energy and improve your indoor comfort, contact us today.

We work with all manufacturer brands, including:

Get Your A/C System Working & Blowing Cool Air Again Contact the Phoenix A/C Experts. 602.824.9494. Our team is experienced in Servicing Any A/C Make or Model in the Greater Phoenix Area.

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