While you try to do all you can for your home to make it energy efficient, the time may come when you start to notice certain things that indicate your plan is not going as anticipated. As a result, you may find yourself losing money month after month, having a home that is not as comfortable as you would prefer, and other problems that may result. Should you begin to think your home’s energy efficiency needs to improve, here are five signs to watch for that likely indicate changes are needed.
Higher Energy Bills
When you notice your energy bills starting to increase, this is a strong indicator you need to improve your home’s energy efficiency. To answer your question, divide the amount of your electric bill by the square footage of your home. If the result comes out to more than 10 cents per square foot, it’s time for some changes.
It may also be helpful to compare your current electricity bill with your bills from before you made energy changes to your home as well as to the bills from right after you made the changes. If you notice that the amounts are different on all three billing periods, it can indicate that something has happened in your home recently that is making it less energy efficient. This can include anything from a repair to your roofing or windows or some malfunction with your HVAC or thermostat. Inspecting these areas will give you a good place to start.
Cool Rooms and Warm Rooms
As you stroll through your home, you probably notice some rooms are warmer or cooler than others. This is fairly obvious in most homes, regardless of their age or heating and cooling system. When this happens, this means heat is escaping from some parts of your home and finding its way elsewhere. As a result, you are turning up your thermostat more than needed. To remedy this, you may need to install replacement windows to regulate your home’s temperature. Additionally, you may want more insulated windows in rooms that are prone to being hotter in the summer or colder in the winter. This will usually be your eastern or western facing windows or windows in drafty areas of your home. Updating your windows is a reasonable cost way to make your home’s energy efficiency better.
AC Dust Streaks
If you look at your air conditioning vents and notice dust streaks, this means your ducts are leaking. This means that your ducts are not sealed everywhere and are letting air escape on the way to the vents. As a result, your AC system is not working properly, leading to a loss of warm or cool air where you need it most. Poor airflow from your vents can also mean that you need to change your HVAC filter, especially if you haven’t done so recently. This filter can easily become clogged with dust, dirt, and even pet hair. If you replace the filter and still notice airflow issues, call in a professional. An HVAC technician can examine your unit and get it working at its most efficient level.
When you want to get an excellent idea as to the true energy efficiency of your home, go around to various rooms and check your ceiling. If you feel warm patches somewhere and cold patches elsewhere, this means there are some spots that are not properly insulated.
If it is difficult for you to tell if there are drafts in your ceiling but you feel certain that there are, you can buy a thermal reading tool at any major home improvement store or online supplier. These are used to read the temperature where you point it and show where there are major discrepancies. This will give you more solid evidence for areas where you have drafts before you commit to having a repair specialist come and check it out. Once the specialist comes they will be able to fix any areas that are lacking insulation or that may have leaks coming in from damage on exterior walls.
Finally, you can verify your home’s energy efficiency by checking the temperature in your home as it goes between the heating and cooling systems. If your thermostat is reading different temperatures it can mean a few different things. First, it may mean that your HVAC system is not working properly at heating and cooling your home. While it runs it isn’t sufficiently cooling or heating your home to the desired temperature. Additionally, it could mean that your thermostat itself is broken or needs repairs. Regardless of the time of year, your home’s temperature should stay about the same, depending on what you set your thermostat to. If it does not, you should have your system checked by a service technician who can definitively tell you what is wrong with it.
Putting time, effort, and money into making your home energy efficient and then not seeing results in lower energy bills can be frustrating. Rather than continue to throw away your money due to poor energy efficiency, take these signs seriously when they appear and make the changes needed to make your home much more energy efficient. While it might seem like more effort on your part, it will all be worth it in the end and will save you money in the long run. Work toward these steps to continue making your home more energy efficient over time.