On a daily basis, you likely think more about how nice your home looks and how much you enjoy the layout and floor plan of it. Then when the power bill comes each month, you wonder about your home’s efficiency. Of course you can’t install a full solar system for a reasonable price nor can you feasibly switch to a woodstove for heat and no air conditioning in the summer. There are, however, a few common sense upgrades you can make to your house which really aren’t very expensive in the overall scheme of home ownership and will pay for themselves in value should you ever decide to sell.
Properly functioning windows are one of the easiest ways to improve your home’s efficiency. The first thing you’ll notice is when the windows are easy to open and close you’ll use them for a fresh breeze throughout the home, reducing the run time of your air conditioner. When they close securely they will keep the heat in during the winter rather leaving an uncomfortable cold draft to blow across the room. Windows really don’t cost much to replace comparative to other routine maintenance costs and upgrades, and will pay for themselves over time in the amount of energy savings they provide.
Second to windows, improper insulation is typically a common source of energy loss and lack of efficiency for the house. Simply adding extra insulation in the attic can reduce your heating bill while assuring the basement or crawl space is appropriately insulated will help with your summer cooling expense. The walls are a bit more difficult to add insulation, however, modern siding systems have insulation built in and can be a way to efficiently enclose the envelope of your house so you can focus on heating and cooling inside instead of trying to air condition the entire neighborhood.
Your roof is your house’s first defense against the weather and is key toward maintaining your home’s efficiency. Not only does the roof keep the rain out of your home, but if properly designed in conjunction with an appropriate gutter system it can move the water where you want it for lawn or garden irrigation or simply to get the water away from where it can possibly damage the foundation or structure of your house. The roof does require regular inspection and maintenance to continue to perform its function.