Improving Home Energy Efficiency

Summer and winter months are the peak times of the year that households use the most energy, especially in Florida. Thankfully, cooler weather is approaching just in time to prepare for the “winter” months.

Of course, everyone loves to pay less especially when it comes to their electric bill. The best way to lower the cost of your utility bills is through increasing energy efficiency by conducting home improvements and upgrades specifically designed to stop air leakage which can account for as much as 20-30 percent of energy loss.

Making the following changes to your home will not only save 15 to 20 percent on your bill but help reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

Air Seal Sill Plate

Have you ever rubbed your hand against the sidewalk? Notice its irregularities and imperfections? Part of that is due to design to keep people from slipping. The other part is simply because that’s the nature of concrete.

The top of your home’s concrete foundation is no different and often when a wood sill plate is installed over the rough concrete gaps are formed. This creates a path for insects, air, and moisture to invade your home. These holes also work as exit for AC to escape causing your unit to work harder, costing you money. Sealing these crevices during or after construction can be relatively easy and inexpensive.

Caulk

Typically, older homes were left unsealed at joints to allow the home to breathe. They relied heavily on cracks and crevices to remove stale air, odors, and irritants. Modern technology suggests that a healthy home actually prevents air leakage therefore it is important to pay attention to these areas.

Caulk can effectively acts as an air and vapor barrier for joints, sill plates, and bottom plates of exterior walls. Older homes may require this update but the majority of current construction already employs sealant in these locations.

Air sealing reduces drafts through walls, windows, floors, and ceilings. Caulk or foam will seal small cracks or openings and should be utilized at all electrical, plumbing, and HVAC locations as well as areas between floors.  Attics, basements, crawl spaces, and garages deserve special attention since mold and mildew tend to grow here.

Additionally, blocking and sealing cantilevered floors and knee-walls to keep air seepages to a minimum. Many homebuilder associations also recommend ensuring air barrier continuity at all framed cavities such as air chases, soffits, coffered or dropped ceilings, and behind tub/shower units on exterior walls for maximum protection.

By making these simple adjustments and changes your home will become more energy efficient. Now is the time to prepare and make sure your home is not leaking air. Ideally, this is all completed during construction but a little now can really go a long ways. Energy efficient homes will keep your family healthy, reduce your carbon footprint, and save you hundreds of dollars a year in utility cost.

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