Whether you need heat in winter or air conditioning in summer, you run the risk of throwing away money on utilities. You need not do this by making painless home improvements.
Home Improvements – Get Your Envelope In Order
Your house is an enclosed structure designed to keep rain, cold, heat, wind, snow and so on out. In contrast, all of those things want in. If you are not careful, Mother Nature will rob you blind. Yes, I am talking about the thermal envelope of your home.
The thermal envelope refers to the protective pocket around your living space. Much like wearing gloves in the snow, you want the envelope to provide a complete insulation barrier between you and the elements. If there are gaps or weak areas, your hard earned money is flowing out of them. Upgrading or maintaining your envelope can save you a bundle.
Insulation can be a killer when it comes to your envelope. Most developers build homes to the minimum requirements because they are focused on profits. Insulation is noted by R values, a method of determining how resistant the insulation is to transferring heat. If you check the walls of your house, an R-11 value will most likely be present. This is bad. R-11 is the minimum required. Upgrade to R-20 or R-30 in the walls and R-70 in the ceiling and floor areas. The temperatures in the house will become more consistent because the heat transfer will stop. This means the house stays warmer for longer in the winter and cooler for longer in the summer. The change will be dramatic.
Windows can be a killer, accounting for as much as 25 percent of your energy loss. The answer is relatively simple. Install Energy Star approved windows and get those frames into shape.
Doors are another area that can kill you. The issue is not so much the door itself, but the framing around it. Make sure your doors are flush to the frames. Installing small seal pads along the inside of the doorstops can make a major difference because they cut off air flow. Of course, the downside is the door doesn’t make much noise when you slam it in anger, but you will just have to tough it out.
Upgrading your envelope can make a major difference in your utility bill. If you can save $100 a month, you will save $1,200 a year. If you live in the home for 10 years, that is an easy $12,000.