Here at Kearns Brothers we are often asked about energy efficient upgrades. Many homeowners are finding it quite costly to heat and cool their homes thus compelling them to investigate ways to increase the energy efficiency of their homes. When considering enhancements to your home that increase its overall efficiency it is important to start by evaluating the exterior “envelope” of your home.
The first step in improving the efficiency of your home and decreasing your overall utilities comes from eliminating air from entering or exiting the home unnecessarily. A new, bigger furnace or air conditioning unit will do nothing to decrease your utility bills if the air is still seeping through windows, doors, walls, or the roof.
New windows are one of the first home improvements that we would suggest to homeowners with older homes or worn out windows to improve a homes energy efficiency. Yes, high-quality replacement windows can put a large dent in a homeowner’s home improvement budget however, not only do they provide energy savings they also provide a solid return on investment when going to sell your home.
If new windows are out of the question, another option is weather-stripping. This process includes sealing areas where air is seeping in and out of the home such as windows, doors, cracks found in attic piping, chimney, wiring, and recessed lighting. Little crevices can radically increase heating and cooling expenses. These minor, open areas need to be addressed before insulation issues are addressed.
The next area to address is insulation. Adding insulation, of at least ten inches, on the attic floor is a must. Since heat naturally rises this is the first place that should be taken care of with additional insulation. Adding insulation to the walls of an existing home is often a little trickier than with new construction. The best time to add insulation to older homes is when you are in the process of installing new siding or updating the exterior such as adding stone veneer or other masonry upgrades.
Another budget conscience way to increase the energy efficiency in your home is by having a home improvement contractor seal and insulate your homes duct work. Ducts are responsible for leaking heated and cooled air throughout the attic, basement, and crawlspaces of the house. By having a professional contractor seal and insulate the duct work in your home can cut your heating and cooling expenses upwards of thirty percent.
Look Into your Heating and Cooling Systems
Once your home has been effectively sealed homeowners will see a significant decrease in heating and cooling expenses. Heating and cooling systems over ten years old are often considered inefficient by many HVAC specialists. Of course, there is always going to be a new and improved, high efficiency upgrades you can install but without the maintenance mentioned above this won’t help provide any cost savings to homeowners. Reputable HVAC specialist and home improvement contractors will always suggest making the modifications within the space to create an air tight seal before unnecessarily removing working heating and cooling systems. If your home is already sealed and insulated properly and you are still looking to increase energy efficiency then and only then should you look into the latest and greatest high efficiency heating and cooling unit.
Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.