Living in an old home has many advantages, but it's not likely to be energy efficient if you haven't put some effort into retrofitting the insulation, windows and appliances. Older homes weren't built as tightly in years past, since energy costs weren't as big a concern as they are now, nor was the importance of conservation as much a consideration as it is today.
The first step to take when planning to improve energy efficiency is asking a licensed energy auditor or HVAC professional to visit your home and conduct a blower door test to measure where you're losing energy. The test involves placing a large fan mounted in a frame inside an exterior door, closing all the windows and opening all the interior doors. When the auditor turns the fan on, the air indoors is pulled outside, and outside air rushes in to replace it.
The technicians then use thermal imaging equipment to sense the places where temperatures are different. The test shows you where you have air leaks and inadequate insulation, two of the biggest sources for energy inefficiency, and also two of the easiest places to start making your older home energy efficient.
The windows also are likely to be a source of air infiltration or thermal losses, but the federal EPA states that it may make more financial and aesthetic sense to repair them rather than replace them. Adding weatherstripping to the window sashes and using storm windows, indoors or out, can cut energy losses.
The next step is to have an HVAC contractor examine your HVAC equipment and its ductwork. The Department of Energy estimates that half the amount people spend on energy goes toward heating and cooling. By having your current system evaluated and serviced, even if it's been replaced with newer equipment, you'll increase its efficiency and likely lower your utility bills.
If you'd like to learn more about ways to heat and cool your older home in a more energy-efficient way, contact Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating. We've provided quality HVAC services for the mid-Ohio area since 1965.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Mid-Ohio area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy efficiency and other HVAC topics, visit our website.
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