Achieving energy efficiency in older homes is generally a challenge. As time goes by and homes age, leaks and cracks develop, and equipment cease to function as desired. These factors impact energy consumption, and can become quite costly. Homes that let conditioned indoor air out or allow unfiltered, unconditioned outdoor air to infiltrate become expensive and may even be unhealthy for occupants. Smart energy-saving upgrades can make a big impact in older homes, and reduce long-term costs.
The following are effective ways to bring your older home up to new house standards with regard to energy efficiency:
- Determine the status quo. An energy audit conducted by an HVAC professional will help in identifying for example, sources of leaks, insulation problems, and thermostat and HVAC system condition. A written report will suggest improvements to increase efficiency and indoor air quality, as well as estimate the savings you can expect.
- Seal windows and doors. Following the findings of the energy audit, you will be able to start making upgrades. In general, air leakage into and out of older homes, mainly occurs via windows and doors. Contraction and expansion of surfaces over the years, result in gaps and cracks within and around the frames. Fill those gaps by removing worn-out weatherstripping and replacing with new adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping tape or more permanent bulb-style vinyl or rubber strips. To close gaps under exterior doors, install rubber or aluminum door sweep, for example.
- Update insulation. If your home is 20 years old or more, it is almost certainly under-insulated by today’s efficiency standards. Begin with measuring the insulation in the attic. Here in Virginia, if you do not have at least one foot of fiberglass or 10 inches of cellulose loose-fill insulation, you don’t have enough. Upgrading attic insulation is a simple matter of adding more insulation to the existing layers to achieve the recommended depth in inches.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Donate that old-school mechanical unit to the thermostat museum and upgrade to a digital programmable model. Savings from greater efficiency range from five to fifteen percent per year.
Energy-saving upgrades are worth it for a more comfortable home. Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning can help you to find effective ways to increase energy efficiency in your home. Call us at (703) 491-2771 to speak with one of our experienced technicians, and to learn more about our energy-saving solutions.