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Heating and cooling costs are one of the major expenses with most homes. However, unlike other things like mortgage payments or taxes, the amount you spend for conditioned air is something you can easily change by taking the right steps. The best way to reduce the amount you spend for conditioned air is to increase your home’s overall energy efficiency. There are many ways to go about this.
Sealing Air Leaks
One of the primary reasons that many homes lose energy is because of leaks. Cracks can allow air infiltration that lets conditioned air to seep out of your home to the outside or into unconditioned spaces such as the attic or basement. Use a lit incense stick to find leaks in your home, since the smoke from the incense will be drawn toward the leaks. Seal small cracks with caulking. Seal larger cracks or gaps around pipes or along the foundation sill with expanding foam.
Another vital thing to consider when you want to increase your home heating and cooling efficiency is your insulation. Because heat rises, the insulation in your attic is of greatest importance. This is why your attic insulation should be at least R-60, whether you use rolls or blown in loose fill. To check your wall insulation, you can turn off the power and look behind an outlet or switch plate, or you can cut a small hole you later patch. If you need more insulation in the walls, hire a professional to add loose fill or expanding foam.
The layout of ductwork can have a major impact on how well your heating and cooling system works. If the ductwork travels through unconditioned areas, the temperature differential can draw energy out of the system. To combat this, you can redo the ductwork, which might be difficult and expensive, or you can add rigid insulation around it.
Making your home airtight is one of the best ways to make your heating and cooling system more efficient. Some aspects of this will probably require the help of a professional.