Big Cost for Wasted Energy
Big Cost for Wasted Energy
Article by Nashville Home Inspection
Eblast Distribution – Monthly Tip for September 2014 092014
The approximately 113 million residences in America today use an estimated 22% of the country’s energy. Unfortunately, much of that energy escapes out the back door, the front door, the attic or through the inefficiencies of heating and cooling systems. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling a typical home is wasted due to air leakage.
Yet whether the energy is absorbed or wasted, everyone pays. The typical family spends more than $2,000 a year on home utility bills. There is a way to lower these bills. There is a way to lower these bills, however. (And any improvements will help. The EPA estimates that energy costs are going to continue to go up at a pace of two to three percent through 2040).
To get a handle on energy costs, an analysis of energy consumption shows that heating and cooling accounts for 54% of energy usage in the home, water heating accounts for an additional 18%. Lighting and refrigeration account for about 5% each. Electronics and appliances of all kinds use the remaining 18%.
Since cooling and heating comprises the bulk of energy usage, checking the home for air leaks is a first step. On a windy or cool day, air leaks are easy to track down (by touch) around windows, under and around doors, and from attics or exterior walls.
Sealing air leaks and adding insulation is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy waste and save energy dollars. If leaks are detected around windows or doors, use caulk and weather stripping to eliminate leaks.
Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through the walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets. Install foam gaskets behind outlet switch plates on walls. Using safe work practices, low-expansion polyurethane foam in a can is good for plugging openings ¼-inch to three inches wide, such as those around plumbing pipes and vents.
It may be time to add insulation if a home is uncomfortably hot or cold at any time or if energy bills are higher than might be expected. Be sure to seal any air leaks before you insulate, because insulating materials won’t block leaks.
To cut down on hot water bills, families can use the shower rather than the tub, buy a more energy-efficient hot water heater, turn down the thermostat on the heater and better insulate the tank, but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. In addition, the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater can also benefit from insulation.
Changing out light bulbs can also make a difference. One of today’s most energy-efficient technologies, ENERGY STAR light-emitting diodes diodes (LEDs) use only 20% to 25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace.
While LEDs are more expensive, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use.
Finally, we plug in many more devices per household than in years past, including computers, TVs, phone chargers and gaming consoles, and most devices continue consuming energy when not in use. It’s time to unplug. The transformers in AC adapters draw power continuously, even when the device, such as a laptop, is not plugged into the adapter. Devices that are used only on occasion can remain unplugged until needed.
Source: John Watkins, Nashville Home Inspection, September 2014 Month Tip 092014
KENNETH BARGERS, REALTOR® | Bargers Solutions real estate : marketing
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