Energy Savings Essentials
By: Danny Lipford
We’re giving a house in Mobile, Alabama, an energy efficiency makeover from top to bottom by installing a new heating and cooling system, sealing up cracks, and adding insulation.
Heating and Cooling
The first step in our energy efficient home makeover was replacing the old central heating and cooling system and ductwork. The HVAC contractor started by measuring the square footage of the home, window size and placement, and amount of insulation. The information was then used to make a “Manual J” calculation to determine the size needed for the new HVAC unit.
When buying an air conditioner or heat pump for your home, it’s important to consider the energy efficiency of the unit, which is expressed in the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) number. SEER numbers range from 13 to 21, with the higher the number the more energy efficient the unit.
Read Choosing and Maintaining an Air Conditioner to find out more.The homeowner chose a 16 SEER Carrier Infinity heat pump, which has a variable speed fan and high and low stages for quieter operation.
The existing wall thermostat was replaced by a Carrier Infinity Touch control, which measures the humidity in the house and adjusts the variable speed blower to optimize the humidity level.
The control includes an away mode, which makes it easy to set the temperature when you plan to be away from home, and can be accessed remotely from a smartphone or tablet.
Sealing Cracks and Gaps
To make a home more energy efficient, it’s important to seal any cracks and gaps around windows and doors.
We started by installing a Duck brand Triple Draft Seal door sweep on the bottom of the door. Simply cut the door sweep to length, slide it on the bottom of the door, and use a putty knife to adjust the height to a tight fit.
Self-adhesive Duck brand Heavy Duty Weatherstrip Seal was applied to the door frame to fill gaps around the sides of the door.
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Energy Efficient Appliances
When purchasing appliances for your home, be sure to choose products that carry the Energy Star seal.
Energy Star rated items include the Broan 744LED recessed ventilation fan with LED light and energy efficient fan and the Broan RME5030SS range hood with fluorescent lighting.
Watch our video on Buying Energy Efficient Appliances to find out more.
One of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to make sure your attic has plenty of insulation. We added a layer of Roxul R-23 stone wool insulation on top of the existing attic insulation.
Roxul stone wool insulation is:
- Water Repellent: Repels water, so the R-value remains the same when wet.
- Fire Resistant: Won’t burn or release smoke or toxic gases when exposed to heat.
- Easy to Install: Can be easily cut to size using a serrated knife.
Insulation R-value is the measure of a material’s resistance to the flow of heat through it. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation performs.
To further reduce heat loss and gain from the attic, a Duck brand Attic Stairway Cover was installed in the attic over the drop down stairs.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Cleaning Foam Spray Tube
Expanding foam is a great way to seal up cracks and gaps, but the spray tube can become clogged with foam after use, making it impossible to use again. To unclog the tube, spray lubricant in the tube to soften the hardened foam. Then use a wire coat hanger to remove the foam from the tube. (Watch Video)
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Cree LED Light Bulbs
Cree LED light bulbs are available in several styles and brightness. They are dimmable, use 84% less energy than standard bulbs, last up to 25,000 hours, and provide a warm light. Cree LED bulbs come with a 10-year warranty and are available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)
Ask Danny Lipford:
Closing Vents and Doors
Closing the doors and vents to unused rooms in your home doesn’t actually reduce your energy bill, and it can prevent your HVAC system from working properly. Since heating and cooling systems are sized to fit your home, closing off rooms can cause the unit to cycle on and off more frequently. (Watch Video)
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