Summer 2013: The first weeks of July have been extremely hot here in the Northeastern U.S. Over the past few days we have had record-breaking heat, and heat advisories of all sorts.
Being outdoors can get close to unbearable some days. This forces us to seek respite from the heat indoors in hopes that our conditioners can keep our homes comfortable, and that the utility company can keep up with the increased demand.
In some areas, authorities have been urging homeowners to conserve energy. This is because increased consumption takes its toll not only on the energy supply system, but also on our budgets. It is impossible not to think of the final cost of being cool and comfortable every time we crank up the air conditioner. We are going to pay for it and it is not going to be cheap.
The bulk of a typical U.S. home’s overall energy consumption (40%) goes toward heating and cooling.
Sadly, the average U.S. home also consumes 2 to 3 times more energy that it would need to if these homes were energy efficient and the existing air conditioning systems were operating at top efficiency.
Chances are, you too will be paying for much more than you need. This is typically because your home is poorly insulated, the air that you are paying to cool and condition is leaking out through gaps left in the building envelope or leaky, or you have faulty or dirty duct systems. The typical US home leaks so much air that it is the equivalent of leaving a window wide open, 24/7 year round.
To make matters worse, in some homes, the ducts run through unconditioned, hostile spaces, like the crawl space or the attic. Attics are notorious for reaching scorching three-digit temperatures on warm days because the heat from the sun-exposed roof radiates into the space. So, the conditioned air that is running through these ducts during the summer is gaining a lot of heat before it even makes it into the rooms it is supposed to cool! Ducts running through unconditioned crawl spaces, on the other hand, are known to not only cause energy loss, but also condensation issues in the crawl as well. Moisture in the crawl space can lead to mold problems that ruin your indoor air quality and add insult to injury.
With that said, if you really want to save energy and stay cool and comfortable this summer, and for many summers to come, the best thing you can do is call an energy conservation expert. In Delaware and Maryland, Dr. Energy Saver Delmarva provide comprehensive home energy audits and a holisting approach to home energy savings.
A home energy audit will help you understand how your home and family consume energy, where energy is being wasted and what can be done to improve energy efficiency. Unlike a regular HVAC, Insulation or any other specialty contractor promising energy savings, a knowledgeable, certified energy consultant has a holistic approach to home energy savings and will help you come up with an improvement plan that prioritizes projects that will bring you the most savings per dollar invested.
Running your air conditioner on full blast and your home is still uncomfortable? Thinking you need to upgrade your air conditioner? Maybe what your home needs is air sealing, or even more attic insulation instead to make your existing unit work more efficiently.
In fact, Gary and Dave Lawson from Dr. Energy Saver Delmarva report:
“After we are done with insulation, air sealing and duct work, many of our existing customers are pleasantly surprised to find out that they don’t need a bigger Air Conditioner at all, they actually need a smaller one because the existing unit is now too powerful for their energy efficient home.”
Energy efficient improvements are one of the best investments you can make
Think about this: You are already paying for it, whether you have it done or not, because your uncomfortable home is wasting energy. The money is going straight to the utility company for good, if you don’t have it done you will continue paying for it, many times over.
An energy efficient improvement is a one-time deal that will pay for itself in about 6 years, on average. After that, the energy savings mean extra cash in your pocket every month, for the rest of your life, while you’re enjoying a more comfortable home all year round!
How does that sound?