In the midst of this summer heat wave, we all are relying on our air conditioning. However, turning up the AC in your home can turn up those energy bills to record levels. There are a lot of little things you can do to beat the heat and make sure you aren’t wasting money cooling your home: making sure your HVAC equipment is tuned-up, replacing your air filter regularly, avoiding heat build-up by cooking outdoors on hot days and keeping your shades and blinds closed during the day. But if you’re looking to really maximize your AC this summer, its best to take a good look at the structure of your home as well.
Start with your building envelope
Your home’s building envelope includes the walls, doors, windows and floor of your home. It is what creates a barrier between the air in your home and the air outside. A tight building envelope has few gaps through which conditioned air can leave the home, or unconditioned air can enter the home. When you are cooling your home on hot summer days a tight building envelope ensures cool air, along with the money you are spending to keep it cool, doesn’t blow out the window or cracks in the attic.
How do you determine if your home has a tight building envelope? And what can you do if it is leaking energy? An energy audit is a good place to start. During a home energy audit, an energy expert will evaluate your home’s envelope and suggest ways you can seal that envelope with our home retrofits to keep more conditioned air inside your home.
Consider how you can tighten your building envelope
Improvements like insulation and air sealing are great candidates for filling in cracks and gaps where your home is leaking conditioned air. These are some of the retrofit projects typically recommended in a home energy audit report. There are different ways to go about insulating and air sealingyour home and an energy auditor can recommend the best practices for your home.
It is estimated that every dollar invested in energy efficiency measures, such as air sealing and insulation, produces three dollars of savings. That can quickly add up, allowing you to not feel guilty about lowering the thermostat and allowing you to seek other measures to beat the heat, like a trip to the pool or the ocean!
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