Fall is all about nesting.
We begin to focus on cozy indoor areas, well lit work spaces, warm meals, and consistent home temperatures. It is the seasonal hierarchy of needs. However, maintaining all these layers can be costly, both financially and environmentally. During a season of comfort, we don’t have to give in to a guilt inducing, energy bill. Handyman Matters has the answer to making your home and wallet just that more green.
- Let’s Start with Lighting
This is probably the easiest thing in your home to fix. The issue is the type of bulb. If you have high watt bulbs that overheat easily – you are likely still using the original, incandescent bulb. Bulbs that will save you energy but still operate at the same level of brightness are: halogen incandescent bulbs, CFL’s, and LED light bulbs. Some of these bulbs when they first came out, gave off a harsh, blue light. Luckily, these lights have had time to adapt from their original model: now coming in a soft, white light. Although these options may be pricier than the bulbs you’re used to, in the long run they are not. Energy efficient bulbs last up to 20 times longer than traditional bulbs!
- On To Insulation
In order to make sure your home is properly insulated, we will be checking your attic’s R value aka its thermal resistance. Northern, chillier states require a higher R value, while Southern states are typically warmer and can get away with less. Before you measure the depth, you will need to cover up, as insulation is toxic. Paper coveralls, a face mask, goggles, gloves, and measuring tape will be necessary. Use your tape measurer to find the depth of the insulation, and then multiply that by the type of insulation you have.
There are 2 main types of insulation: fiberglass and cellulose. Fiberglass is usually pink or yellow-y and lightweight, while cellulose is more of a gray and flat consistency. Decide which one you have, and then multiply your attic’s depth by 2.5 for fiberglass, or 3.7 for cellulose. The product of these two is your R value. We can then compare the R value against the recommended value for your area. Here is a link to an area based, R value calculator.
- And then, Heating and Cooling Appliances
There are a few things you can do to make you heater more energy efficient. First, make sure you swap out your filters at least every 3 months when the appliance is being used. Old filters cause air movement to slow, and the heater to work harder.
Secondly, sealing the ducts around the heating system will also help to improve your home’s energy efficiency. You want to make sure your attic and walls are well insulated, and that the connection points of the ducts are filled. Duct sealant and metal-backed tape can be used to cover and fill the connection points. Additionally, if you wrap a piece of insulation around the duct, it will improve its ability to maintain your home’s temperature without working overtime.
Finally, programmable thermostats are great for stabilizing the weather in your home. They keep the climate steady when you’re at home, on vacation, or at work. Your house can sit at a slightly colder temperature during the colder months when you are gone, and then warm up when you are home.
Going Green doesn’t have to mean overhauling your lifestyle. It’s not a question of sacrificing amenities, but a question of preparation. The easiest way to make the most out of your home’s efficiency is through proper maintenance. Small seasonal checkups, like the ones above, will not only improve your homes efficiency, but it will also lower your energy bills, prolong the lifespan of your home, and preserve its resell value.
Handyman Matters can help improve your home’s energy efficiency! Call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to locate a handyman near you.