Residential Energy Efficiency Links

Making your home more energy efficient leads to more comfort and lower utility bills throughout the year. The following information outlines many projects that, once completed, can make your home much more energy efficient. Just because your house is new doesn’t mean that these projects are not valid. Read through them, and you may find some that are relevant to every home.

HVAC
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are generally the number one source of energy consumption in your home. These systems could consist of air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, air handlers, and much more. How you set your thermostat is the main determining factor in how much a system runs. Other items that can contribute to the run time of your system, is system condition and maintenance, air duct leakage, air infiltration into and out of your home, and how well the home is insulated. Take a look at the following PDF documents to learn more about HVAC and the impact it has on your home.

HVAC Systems (PDF):
Learn about different HVAC systems and how they work.

Attic HVAC Equipment (PDF):
Learn about the various parts and how to maintain your attic HVAC system.

Basement/Crawlspace HVAC Equipment (PDF):
Learn about the various parts and how to maintain your HVAC system in your basement or crawlspace.

Air Flow (PDF):
Learn about air flow, duct sealing, and improving comfort in rooms in your home.

Improving Duct Systems (PDF):
Learn about duct systems, how they should work, and steps to improve them with this Department of Energy Guide.

INSULATION
Have you checked the insulation in your attic lately? Has the insulation "settled" between your ceiling joists or was an inadequate amount installed when the home was built? Is there insulation in the floor over unconditioned areas of your home? If you don’t have a proper amount of insulation in your attic or in other areas of your home, you could be losing money on heating and cooling costs. In many cases, upgrading the insulation will pay for itself in savings on your energy bills over a few years. The following PDF documents contain valuable information on insulating your home:

Attic Insulation (PDF):
Learn about attic insulation and how it is properly installed

Attic Knee wall (PDF):
Learn about what a knee wall is, and how to address issues they create in your home.

Attic Access (PDF):
Learn about how to address those attic stairs in your home.

Exterior Walls (PDF):
Learn about how to address insulation issues in finished exterior walls.

Subfloor Insulation (PDF):
Learn more on how to insulate floor joists over crawlspaces or uninsulated basements.

Basement Walls (PDF):
Learn about how to address insulation issues in basement walls.

AIR INFILTRATION
Uncontrolled air flow into and out of your home is considered air infiltration. This occurs around doors, windows, plumbing, wiring, or ductwork penetrations through walls, floors, and ceilings. This uncontrolled air flow can increase HVAC runtime and make you uncomfortable in some areas of your home. The following PDF files covers various aspects of air infiltration and how to prevent it.

Air Sealing Sub-floors (PDF):
Learn about sealing subfloor areas over crawlspaces or unconditioned basements.

Basement Walls (PDF):
Learn about sealing and insulating basement and crawlspace walls.

Doors and Windows (PDF):
Learn about weather stripping and what doors and windows need attention.

Attached Garages (PDF):
Learn about sealing in attached garages to avoid car exhaust fumes and air infiltration when garage doors are opened.

Attic Air Sealing (PDF):
Learn about sealing holes in your attic floor and ceiling of your living space.

Attic Pipes and Vents (PDF):
Learn about plumbing and ventilation pipe sealing in attics.

VENTILATION
Ventilation is an important issue to consider when looking at the overall energy efficiency of your home. Most attics use either passive or powered ventilation to aid in removing moisture and heat. Bathrooms, kitchens, and fireplaces are other areas where ventilation occurs in your home. The following PDF documents discuss these areas and steps you can take to make sure the ventilation is working like it is supposed to and not adding to unintentional air infiltration into or out of your home.

Attic Ventilation (PDF):
Learn about the different types of attic ventilation and benefits and problems it can cause.

Furnace/Water Heater Ventilation Comfort and Safety (PDF):
Learn about proper ventilation of water heaters and furnaces in your home along with other general comfort considerations.

Doors and Windows in Basements (PDF):
Learn about weather stripping and what doors and windows need attention.

Attached Garages (PDF):
Learn about sealing in attached garages to avoid car exhaust fumes and air infiltration when garage doors are opened.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves (PDF):
Learn about how those fireplaces and wood stoves vent and best practices when not using them.

APPLIANCES/ ELECTRIC MOTORS/ LIGHTING/ WATER HEATING
Items such as refrigerators, washers and dryers, pool pumps, and anything else with electric motors in your home will add to your electric bill each month. They also wear out over time, making it necessary to replace them. Typically, the older the unit, the more energy it consumes. Lighting and water heating are other items that adds to your utility bills. The following PDF documents discuss these different items that can add to your bill each month.

Appliances (PDF):
Learn about the impact appliances and electric motors have on your bill, and what to look for when replacing them.

Lighting (PDF):
Learn about lighting, and what to look for when replacing bulbs.

Water Heater Efficiency (PDF):
Learn about heat pump water heaters and options on water heating.

Water Heater Choices (PDF):
Learn about different types of water heaters.