If you live in an older home, don’t resign yourself to higher energy costs for the sake of charm. You can improve your older home’s energy efficiency with a few simple steps without sacrificing its character. Follow these simple tips to boost your home’s efficiency and enjoy more comfort at a lower cost.
Seal air leaks
On a cool, windy day, close your doors and windows, turn off your furnace and turn on all of the exhaust fans in your home. Move an incense stick around these common leak sites. When the smoke wavers, seal the air leak.
- Doors and windows. Apply caulk between stationary building components and install weatherstripping between moving parts of doors and windows.
- Walls and floors. Seal cracks and holes in your walls and floors with caulk.
- Outlet and light switch covers. Install precut foam gaskets behind cover plates on exterior walls.
- Attics, basements and utility rooms. Apply caulk to gaps where vents, pipes and utility service entrances penetrate the outer wall of your home.
- Chimney. Keep your damper closed when you aren’t using your fireplace.
- Ducts. Seal loose joints and cracks with metal tape or mastic.
Maintain your furnace & water heater
- Schedule preventive maintenance on your furnace and water heater each fall. Annual tune-ups will extend the life of your systems and increase their energy efficiency.
- Replace your furnace’s air filter each month during the heavy heating system.
- Install a programmable thermostat to lower your energy costs.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees if it’s above that.
- Insulate your ducts, water heater pipes and the hot water heater itself.
- Replace old, troublesome equipment with energy-efficient models.
Insulate these key areas
- Your attic walls, floors and access hatch. Fiberglass insulation should be at least 11 inches thick; loose fill should be at least 8 inches thick.
- Any unconditioned crawl spaces.
- Check existing insulation for water stains, indicating air leaks. Seal leaks and replace damaged insulation.
For more expert advice on improving your older home’s energy efficiency, or to schedule a comprehensive energy audit with one of our qualified professionals, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal, serving northwest Arkansas for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock