Exploring Common Home Energy Sinks
Excerpt: Home energy “sinks” cost you more money on your heating and cooling bills, while also shortening the lifetime of your HVAC system. This article explains the most common home energy sinks and how you can address them.
Energy sinks are places in your home where energy is lost. In terms of home heating and cooling, an energy sink is any area or element through which your home loses the energy your furnace or air conditioner uses for heating or cooling your air. Unaddressed home energy sinks can cost you more than necessary when heating and cooling your home; the added strain placed on your furnace and air conditioner to keep up with air lost through these sinks can also lead to more frequent breakdowns and a shortened useful life of the equipment. Knowing the most common home energy sinks and how you can minimize or eliminate them will thus improve your home’s overall HVAC efficiency.
Windows are one of the largest and most widespread energy sinks in any given residential home. Glass is a poor insulator, meaning that heat can cross from one side to the other relatively easily. During the summer, sunlight and heat from outside can cause the interior of your home to warm up, forcing your air conditioner to do more work. In the winter months, the heat produced by your furnace can be lost through your windows to the outdoors, resulting in a need for additional heating. There are a few simple solutions you can implement to reduce the amount of energy lost through your windows. Ensuring the glass and frames are in good repair and replacing caulk that is damaged or crumbling will reduce physical air exchange. Closing your blinds during the day in the summer can reduce solar heating, while closing blinds and curtains at night during the winter will prevent heat escape. If you are considering window replacement, upgrading to high-efficiency glass or multi-paned windows can significantly reduce the amount of energy transferred through your home’s windows.
Insulation plays a vital role in maintaining a comfortable home. If you have uninsulated and unconditioned spaces in your home, such as a garage, attic, basement, or crawlspace, these areas can become energy sinks if they are not carefully isolated from the other living spaces of your home. Inadequate insulation in the interfaces between your living spaces and uninsulated areas is a common cause of energy losses that tax your HVAC system. Thus, it’s important to make sure you have enough insulation in these spaces, as well as insulation with a sufficient R-value to prevent heat transfer. Air sealing these spaces will prevent the transfer of heated or cooled air produced by your HVAC system into areas where it is not wanted. Making sure there is adequate weatherstripping around doors and windows in uninsulated spaces will not only keep these areas more comfortable, but also help to more effectively cut them off from the controlled environment inside the rest of your home.
Heating and cooling your Detroit home effectively means enjoying years of lower energy bills and a comfortable living space. Take a look through our website to explore our heating, air conditioning, and indoor air quality services, including home service plans to keep your HVAC system functioning at peak capacity. We also invite you to read through our blog, where you’ll find more tips and important home energy information.