There is no time quite like the Summer; the days are longer and warmer, and it is a beautiful time to be outdoors in the fresh air. Yet while we are all getting out and about a bit more, we are still spending plenty of time in our homes to keep healthy and well. And, the more we are inside, the more we use our air conditioning units to stay comfortable and cool in our homes. The result? Elevated energy and utility bills. The good news is keeping your home comfortable during summer, and all year long, does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, with these 5 home improvement tips, you can not only improve the comfort of your home, but also save on energy and cooling costs. While these tips might require an initial investment, in the long run, they will significantly save you money.
Replace Old Windows
Replacing old windows with new, energy efficient windows can greatly reduce your energy bills. In fact, investing in energy-efficient windows with low-E coating can save you up to 33% on your utility bills each year. Also, if installing new windows in your home, consider investing in triple pane windows, particularly in rooms that get consistent and direct sun. Most US homes will feature standard double pane windows. However, triple pane windows have been shown to improve energy efficiency around your home by anywhere between 20 - 30% (or up to 50% if you still have single pane windows).
If your home is lacking basic insulation that allows for the transfer of hot or cold air, this is something that will greatly affect the energy efficiency of your home, and in turn, your energy bills. Adding insulation to your home and air sealing cracks around the house will keep your home comfortable during the summer, and save you on energy costs year round. Common places to add insulation and air sealing include: around doors and windows, in the walls, around electrical outlets in exterior walls, behind can lighting, in the attic and in the basement.
Seal Your Windows and Doors
Speaking of energy efficiency, sealing your windows and doors is another great way to save on cooling and energy costs in summer. Windows and doors are the primary avenue for heat to escape your home. If they aren’t properly sealed, you are essentially throwing money out the window. Some of the things you can do to seal the warmth in your home and keep the heat at bay include: re-caulk the areas around your windows and doors that are dry, missing or peeling; check to see if the weather stripping around your windows is intact – if not, replace it.
Seal Any Additional Air Leaks
Windows and doors are not the only place air can leak in or out of. You may be losing the cool air in your home from places you have not considered. Here are a few common culprits to look at:
- Electricity boxes – drafts can come inside your home from around the box, as well as through the box.
- Chimney – it is possible your chimney is leaking air. Get a specialist to come and check it out if you think it is not working properly.
- Holes in exterior walls – check the areas around the pipes, electricity lines and gas lines that enter your home.
- Ductwork – check your attic or basement and places where the ducts are pulled apart at corners and seams.
Install New Siding
Siding is another home improvement project that will save you on energy and cooling costs not just in summer, but throughout the year. Insulated siding is particularly effective as it is a type of material that combines the benefits of exterior siding with the addition of an added layer of insulation to the back of the material. Basically, any type of insulation creates a blanket-like effect on your home. This further traps air inside your home and minimizes the amount of outside air that can enter the home, ultimately making your home much more energy efficient, reducing the load on your HVAC system and reducing your energy bills.