How To Improve The Energy Efficiency of Your Home

Written by Josh McDermott

improve your energy efficiency at homeDoes your house feel drafty in the middle of winter? Or perhaps you can’t seem to keep cool enough during the summer months. If either of these scenarios sounds familiar, it could be a result of improper or insufficient insulation in your home. Poor insulation in your home can be a big frustration, as well as a significant monetary burden.

If you want to trim back your energy bill and keep your home feeling seasonally appropriate, read on. You’ll learn about possible energy pitfalls, as well as a few tips for improving the energy efficiency of your home.

Seal Your Doors

Does it feel a little gusty when you stand next to your front or back door? If the door is closed and you’re still feeling the wind, you can bet that you’re losing a lot of energy—and money— through that threshold.

The older the door, the more likely it is to lack the efficiency of newer doors made from more energy-friendly materials. When doors are regularly exposed to harsh weather conditions and water, both the door and frame wears out. Wood, especially, is prone to decay. And, since most doors are high-traffic zones, the outer seals will degrade. If the door was never sealed correctly, there might even be hidden mold.

If any of these issues sound like they might be affecting your doors, you are likely losing energy and running up your bills. Taking action will save you a lot of money and aggravation down the road.

If you decide to replace your door and the surrounding framework, make sure to check for mold and moisture damage and fix any issues before the new installation. You don’t want to put the time, effort, and money into changing the door if it’s going into a rotten frame. 

improve your energy efficiency at home

Leaky Windows

Windows are another killer when it comes to energy loss. Energy.gov estimates that 25 to 30 percent of your monthly energy bill goes—literally—right out your window. 

Consider the age of your windows, as well as what kinds of windows, are in your home. When choosing a replacement, a good option to consider is Low-E glass, or low-emissivity glass, which has a thin reflective coating that bounces heat. This means that, in winter, your warm air stays in; and in summer, the hot air stays out. They also let in the same amount of light as non-Low-E windows, while preventing your furniture and carpets from fading. 

Double-paned glass is another energy-wise option. These types of windows insulate the home thanks to gas, usually krypton or argon, stored between the panes. Need something even more heavy-duty than double-paned? Go for triple-paned. 

Is Your Attic Sealed?

Are your energy bills through the roof? It may have something to do with the insulation in your attic or crawlspace. 

How do you know if your attic is optimally insulated?

improve your energy efficiency at home

According to Energy Star, it’s easy enough to tell whether you have sufficient insulation in your attic. According to their guidelines, if the insulating material is level with or slightly below the floor joists, you’ll need to add more. If, however, the insulation covers the joist, you may want to consider inserting a measuring implement into the material to find out where the joist starts. Then, depending on the material, there are simple substitution equations that you can apply to find out whether your attic is well insulated.

If you have more than enough insulation and you still find that your attic is not retaining energy as it should, the issue might not be the insulation at all. Air leaks are the enemy of a well-insulated house, and they should be sealed up as soon as you encounter them to avoid unnecessary energy loss. 

What materials should I use to insulate my attic?

improve your energy efficiency at home

There are many different types of attic insulation materials to choose from, but here are a few of the most popular ones:

  • Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass bat is highly effective as an insulator, but not so much as a sealant. 
  • Spray-Foam Insulation: Spray-foam is an effective insulator and sealant. 
  • Cellulose Insulation: Cellulose is easy to modify for older attics and is an excellent insulator. 

In conclusion, if you are looking to improve the energy efficiency of your St. Louis home, attic insulation and the seals around your doors and windows are the first things you should address.

When you’re ready to seal the deal (so to speak), reach out to the renovation professionals at McDermott to get started! 

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