Your Home’s Thermal Energy Vampire Exposed
The largest amount of energy that is consumed by homes on average is due to heating requirements, which are continuing to steadily. The average heating bill (at the time of winter alone) in the U.S. in 1999 was $564, which reached $989 by the next 6 years, and it is showing no signs of halting its steady growth even after almost 5 years have passed since the end of 2005.
Does our heating bill rise only when we use more heat to warm up our homes? It is obvious that using more energy equals more money needed to pay for it. However, the actual vampire of our home’s heat energy is something a little less obvious – the unwanted thermal energy loss effect. This is normally the main reason for our heating bills being much higher than they need to be.
This article will focus on explaining the details of this effect and how we can solve its different aspects. So, let’s take a look at the most effective and important ways we can go about doing this:
1. Fixing bad insulation. What is insulation exactly? There are certain materials that are embedded in the core of our home’s wall structures, and sometimes, even roofs and floors, that have a specific purpose – they absorb our home’s heat and radiate it back inside, for as long as possible, allowing our homes to maintain a relatively constant temperature once we turn off our heating. Your insulation is effective (good) if it radiates a high proportion of the heat it absorbs, and, also, for a reasonably long time. So it is ineffective (bad) if it does not do so. Bad insulation is one of the biggest heat wastes in our homes.
You can review your home’s insulation materials by asking experts to test them, which is the way I recommend as they will leave no stone unturned and give you an accurate analysis, which is what you want ideally. Or, if you live in an area where it tends to snow a lot, you can try out a little science experiment to determine whether your insulation is becoming obsolete: after it has been snowing for a while, check your home’s exterior and see if the ice on your home melts quicker than the ice on, for example, your neighbors’ home. If this is the case, it is a clear indication that your insulation materials’ time is up, and they need to be changed or improved simply because the ice melting quicker means that heat is allowed to escape your home at a greater rate; due to poor insulation.
2. Decreasing your thermostat temperature. The average thermostat temperature is somewhere near 60 degrees Celsius, or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. What would happen if we were to decrease this temperature by 1 degree? You will not notice a difference in your heating temperature, yet it will save up to $100 dollars on your energy bills per year. It’s a brilliant way to trim off some of the money you spend on your home energy and keep it in your wallet instead.
3. Open curtains and windows to allow sunshine in your home at day, and close them at night to keep the heat locked in. People usually consider this a “pointless suggestion”. However, it is the best way to get some natural thermal energy in your home, and it’s also one of the best ways of keeping it in at night – of course, provided that your insulation is good enough to let this happen.
4. Avoid heating up places that aren’t being used, or ones that don’t need heat at a time when you need heat elsewhere. To do this, you can simply turn off heaters in rooms / areas that don’t need heat at that time. However, a better solution is to invest in a multi-zone heating system. This system allows you to choose what parts of your home you wish to heat, which can substantially reduce your thermal energy waste.
5. Stop cold air drafts from entering your home through cracks and holes. Cold air drafts can eat up 20% of the energy you put in your home to heat it. Of course, before you can fix them, you must locate them and there are two ways you can do this: the first way is to allow an expert to come and carry out a home energy checkup. The results of this check up will make what changes need to be made to your home to increase its efficiency.
Another way you can locate sources of air drafts is by moistening your hands with a little bit of water, and hold them up near an area that you suspect could have a hole or a crack. If you feel a chilly sensation, you will have located a draft. It’s that simple!
A few good places to look for cracks and holes are the edges of doors and windows, places where two different materials meet, and around any other product that goes through the walls of your home. A wall mounted air conditioning system is an example of this. If you have one of these, make sure you have its edges properly sealed.
Once you have located air drafts, you can simply patch them up with products known as draft excluders. You can contact your local DIY store and they will be able to give you more details depending on where exactly in your home you aim to eliminate cracks and holes.
By applying the changes stated in the 5 points above, you can improve the efficiency of your home thermal energy by a stunning 73%. Considering that the average annual heating bill is approaching $1,500, making these changes could potentially cut off hundreds of dollars from that amount for you each year. So, It’s definitely well worth the investment!