How to Retrofit Your Home to Make It Warmer
A lot of older homes and plenty of newer ones are not exactly energy efficient, especially when it comes to heating and air conditioning. If your structure has settled over time or it was not well-built to begin with, you could have leaks throughout your home that allow outside air in and let the air you pay for escape through the cracks, increasing your consumption and cost while making it difficult to regulate your interior temperature. And if your insulation has deteriorated or it is sub-standard, you might also be feeling the chill during the long winter months. In this case you could be looking for ways to retrofit your home in order to boost energy-efficiency, lower utility bills, and most importantly, keep inhabitants warm despite a cold climate. Here are just a few options that could help you when it comes to determining which upgrades your home requires.
The place to begin is with a home energy audit. You can either call your power provider as some have technicians that are qualified to perform such assessments, or you can look for another service provider in your area to conduct the audit for you. Either way, you’ll end up with a comprehensive review of your home’s relative state of energy-efficiency that can tell you where waste is occurring. Common areas that suffer from energy loss include doors and windows, vents, pipes, and any other structures entering and exiting living areas, and even areas like seams around the baseboards. Of course, your walls, floors, and ceilings could also be problematic if you lack proper insulation. Once you have an assessment in hand you can start the retrofit process. Here are some projects that may end up on your to-do list when it comes to making your home warmer.
The easiest place to begin is with weather stripping around windows and doors. Even if they are properly seating initially, over time the settling of a home and the swelling and shrinking caused by temperature and humidity fluctuations can lead to leaks around the frames. Weather stripping is an easy and effective way to treat this problem. However, you might also want to upgrade your windows to double- or even triple-paned options to provide an extra barrier against the cold. The addition of seasonal storm windows might also work and they’re likely to cost you less than installing new windows all around.
You can also seal points of egress such as leaks around vents, pipes, and baseboards without undue hassle or expense. But the biggest task on your list of upgrades may come in the form of the insulation that resides in your attic, your basement, and inside your walls. Here there are a few options. If your basement and attic are unfinished, you should be able to easily install rolls of insulative batting or even modern spray foam insulation. In the attic you could also blow loose fill, although this is definitely the option that entails the most potential mess, especially if you think you’ll have to go up in the attic for any reason. As for walls, replacing the insulation is bound to be a nightmare no matter what because you’re going to have to open them in order to replace or add to the insulation you already have. In this case you should definitely upgrade to a long-term solution like spray foam that is less likely to settle or deteriorate over time.
Once you’ve done your retrofitting you’ll find that your home is able to retain a steady temperature with a lot less energy usage. But still, you could make a couple more upgrades to ensure the greatest possible energy efficiency. For one thing, you could replace your outdated furnace and AC unit with Energy-Star approved models. And you could get rid of your dial thermostat in favor of a programmable model that offers digital accuracy and the ability to set a schedule. If you’re not sure which products are best, you’ll find that using an HVAC company that has earned the ACCA seal benefits you not only with superior service, but also with knowledge concerning the highest standards for energy efficiency. It’s a lot to think about, but when you’re beset by cold all winter long and your home offers no respite, it’s definitely time to call in the pros and retrofit your home for increased warmth and energy efficiency.