Thursday, September 22, 2016

Home Improvements that Reduce Air Conditioning Costs

Are your air conditioning costs out of control? Nationally, heating and cooling costs represent 40 to 60 percent of a home's energy usage. Here in Arizona, living without air conditioning is just not an option. Most customers understand regular maintenance helps with the efficiency of the unit. However, did you know your home is also a major contributor to cooling costs?

Do you remember, as a child, your mother yelling for you to close the door? "We are not trying to air condition the whole outdoors," she would say. Holding the door opened allowed the cool air inside to escape, and force the air conditioner to run longer. Nonetheless, if your home is not air-sealed, it is like holding the door open.

What is air-sealing a home? The energy efficiency of a home relies on closing the building envelope. Therefore, homes that are not properly sealed will allow cooling energy to escape, forcing your air conditioner to work harder and driving up costs. Here are some home improvements that help reduce your air conditioning costs.

1. Add Insulation - The U.S. Department of Energy states, "Most homes in the United States don't have enough insulation and have significant air leaks. In fact, if you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home's envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year!"

2. Seal Leaks - Caulk around windows and doors, and replace old weather-stripping. However, make sure to remove old and damaged caulk before beginning. Also, install gaskets behind electrical outlet and light switch plates. Child safety plugs on electrical outlets can also reduce cooling loss into exterior walls.

3. Windows and Doors – Replacing outdated windows and doors can help to create a better seal on your home throughout the year. It can also help to prevent water damage during heavy rainfall.

Air-sealing a home can reduce cooling costs as much as 20 percent. If you would like to talk about home improvements that reduce air conditioning costs in Tempe, AZ, or need more information, please contact us at (480) 946-5083.