The arrival of ghoulish costumes and creatures to your door this Halloween has nothing on the lurking horror of high energy bills this fall and winter.
With the autumn weather temperatures dropping, you may have noticed your house feeling colder than you remembered last year. Or, you may have been reminded that your HVAC system isn’t working the way you liked. To avoid being plagued by scary energy bills, three words – seal, insulate, and equip – can ensure that you’re prepared for extreme weather:
Seal air leaks to prevent drafts. If your home feels chilly, then creepy crawlies may not be the only things hiding in your attic or crawlspace! Air leaks may be causing conditioned air to escape. You should search for and seal any air leaks. The most important leaks to seal are in your attic and down low in your basement or crawlspace. Framing and places where plumbing or electrical wiring or ducts poke through the ceiling also need to be checked. Sealing air leaks keeps your warm, cozy air inside.
Properly insulate your house to maximize comfort. This step should be taken after sealing air leaks. Air leaking through the insulation decreases its benefits. If part of your HVAC’s ductwork is located in the attic space, it is especially important to seal that ductwork and bury it in insulation. By adding insulation properly, your HVAC system will have to work less to maintain the temperature in your house, saving you electricity and money.
Make sure you have the proper systems to heat and cool your home. After you have sealed air leaks and properly insulated your home, you can check into new equipment. Now that some of your home’s issues are resolved, you may need smaller equipment to properly heat and cool your home. A smaller, right-sized and more energy-efficient system will increase electricity savings, helping your wallet well into the future.
The best way to diagnose issues in your home is to schedule an energy audit. You can contact your local electric cooperative’s energy advisor for details. Your co-op may even be able to provide the audit, which includes recommendations on steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency. You can get an idea of what options – and rebates – are out there to keep you comfortable all year long!
JAKE TAYLOR is energy advisor at LaGrange County REMC in LaGrange, Indiana.