Cutting energy use is on many homeowners' minds here in the Twin Cities, regardless of the weather. But the recent hot and humid days (and nights) we've been experiencing may have some of you wanting relief now! Wonder what you can do to spend less on cooling without sacrificing comfort? Sure, you can turn off your A/C, but how is that going to feel? As an exterior remodeling company who specializes in energy-efficient home improvements, we've got some ideas for you.
Tips to Cut Energy Use in Your HomeThere are a number of things you can do to make your home more energy-efficient yet comfortable at the same time. Some things have a bigger impact than others, and some will cost more. But taking even one step will help.
- Check your attic insulation: a hot attic causes problems year round; in the winter it can contribute to the formation of ice dams, and in the summer it will just make your air conditioner run more. As part of roof replacement projects, we usually start with air flow and insulation in the attic and add or replace to help keep the area under the roof cool, no matter what the season.
- Replace air-leaking windows and exterior doors. Studies show that the largest heat (and cooling) loss in homes is through window and door openings. It might be helpful to have an energy audit done of your home to get a visual on where your problem spots are. New windows and doors that fit snugly in their openings and have a greater R value than the old ones will really help cut those cooling bills. You can also opt for things like UV coating on windows that will reduce the amount of heat-generating sunlight streaming in. This is particularly effective for south-facing windows and patio doors.
- Add caulk and/or weather stripping to doors and windows. If you're not ready to replace those doors or windows just yet, this is a good interim step.
- Choose the most energy-efficient materials when replacing your roof or siding.
- Go on the hunt for air leaks around your home. There are other areas besides windows and doors where even the smallest gaps can be letting air in and out. For those who have fireplaces, make sure your chimney isn't leaking air. Also, any openings like electrical boxes or even outlets on outside walls can leak air. You can buy pre-cut insulated forms to insulate some of these spots. Caulk around other openings. And don't forget to check your ductwork; a loose area or a hairline crack might be leaking air.