How important is energy-efficient heating?
Even here in Louisiana, the winters can get cold. January and February of 2021 are proof that even Cajun country can get snow. So in any home that didn’t have energy-efficient heating, the homeowners realized they needed to do something to increase what they had… or get some period. Since the winters aren’t as brutal here, most homeowners didn’t care until then. Now they’re asking, “What is energy efficiency?”.
Surprisingly, energy efficiency doesn’t just apply to heating your home. We should all be aware of energy efficiency in all things we do in and around our homes. Energy efficiency is how energy expenditures are measured and finding ways to achieve the same comfort and convenience at less cost financially and environmentally. The less loss in energy, the better we can achieve a specific purpose using less energy. So energy-efficient heating would mean having the most efficient heating system possible in your home.
It is crucial that more of us find ways to improve energy efficiency in our homes all around the country. Today, we hear about climate change and the impact our lifestyles are having on the country’s economy, the environment, and society. We have realized there is a connection between the greenhouse gas emissions we create and the adverse impact on the climate and environment.
Finding ways to be more efficient with our actions, like installing energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, are essential for improving our environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The additional bonus to this is the savings on our personal finances as this same energy-efficient heating and air conditioning will cost less and still keep us comfortable.
How can I improve energy efficiency in my home?
With a little research and studying the many websites and other means, it is easy to learn how to make homes energy-efficient today. Because Louisiana doesn’t have really cold winters ordinarily, a homeowner here may not be aware of the different home heating solutions available to them.
During the winter, no matter what part of the country you live in, heating your home is important. Use of tht heat can add up quickly if you don’t have energy-efficient heating. In fact, experts say half of our household budget in the winter goes to heating our homes. So, what are some energy-efficient heating methods?
This is considered one of the best systems, especially for areas like Louisiana where the average winters are mild (with rare exceptions). The principle of a heat pump is to capture heat and move it to where it is needed.
This means that in the summer, a heat pump pulls heat out of your home and returns to the earth. During the winter, it pulls heat out of the earth and dispatches it through your home. There are two types of heat pump systems, and any qualified heating contractor can explain the differences and help you choose the right one for your home.
This is the most commonly used heating system today, with the gas-powered type in approximately sixty percent of all homes. However, the older these furnaces get, the less energy-efficient heating they provide. Today, residential furnaces have new features and better technology that boost the energy rating to extremely high levels. There are three common residential furnace types:
Gas: Natural gas is a natural resource that is plentiful, and it is how most residential furnaces are powered. Local utility companies supply the natural gas via a supply pipe that is installed in the home. A furnace that is powered by natural gas costs less to operate compared to the air-source heat pump energy-efficient heating method because of the cost of gas.
Oil: Oil furnaces burn fuel oil, which produces the heat needed in a home. The oil comes in bulk from a local supplier who delivers it into a tank. This type of heating requires the fuel supply to be monitored, especially in the winter, so that you don’t run out of oil, which would mean no heat. Whether a heating oil or propane gas, it is a more expensive way to heat a home.
Electricity: Electric furnaces work by powering heating coils to generate heat. Because no fuel is used, there isn’t any carbon monoxide or exhaust gases creating possible health and safety hazard risks. However, in regards to cost, they are not an energy-efficient heating method.
Wrapping Up – How To Warm Up
The type of heating method you use is just one part, although the biggest part, in energy-efficient heating concerns. You can also do things around your home and to your home that can ensure more energy-efficient heating and cooling. Some energy-saving tips for your home include:
1. Daily Habits
Adjusting your daily habits is one of the biggest improvements for energy efficiency. This can be achieved by turning off appliances and lights when not in use and hang-drying clothes instead of putting everything in the dryer. As you replace your appliances, choose the highest energy-efficient replacements possible and resort to doing as many household tasks as possible by hand.
2. Light Bulbs
Many of us still have traditional incandescent light bulbs in our homes and these are the biggest pull of energy. By replacing them with energy-efficient alternatives like halogen incandescent bulbs, CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), and LED bulbs (light-emitting diode bulbs), you’ll use up to 80 percent less electricity. Note that these also last up to 25 times longer, meaning fewer light bulb replacements.
3. Power Strips
The electronics in your home, in use or not, are referred to as “phantom loads”, meaning they are a big part of the energy use in your home – as much as 75% in fact. This equals up to around $200 annually or more, but with smart power strips, you can eliminate that extra cost. These smart power strips shut the power off to any electronic that isn’t in use, and they can be programmed as to what time of the day or night to shut off. With remote switches, you can easily adjust them as needed.
4. Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat will automatically turn off the cooling or heating as you have it set to do during school and work hours or reduce it during sleeping hours. This eliminates the wasteful energy use that cooling and heating your home can cause without upgrading the entire HVAC system and save you almost $200 a year too.
5. Energy Efficient Appliances
The appliances in our homes use as much as 13% of our total energy, and in some homes, maybe more. When you replace your appliance, go with an energy-efficient model, and judge them by the price and the annual operating cost. The upfront cost may be higher than you expect, but operating costs are where you’ll get your money back – up to 25% when you get the ones with the ENERGY STAR label.
6. Reduce Water Heating Costs
Reducing your water heating expenses will be a major contributor to lowering energy costs and you can do that in three different ways – purchase a new water heater that is energy efficient; use less hot water; and turn the thermostat of your water heater thermostat. Before you decide to replace your current water heater with a tankless model, get several quotes because there are installation and setup costs you need to be prepared to take on. An energy-efficient tankless water heater can save as much as 300% in energy compared to a conventional tank water heater.
Some Additional Notes on Energy Efficient Heating
Another thing you can do for your energy savings is to have new energy-efficient windows installed. Your current windows could be leading to 25% of your energy expenses. The energy-efficient heating and cooling new windows can provide will pay for themselves in a short time.
Upgrading your HVAC system can save you a substantial amount over the year, and one of the best and most energy-efficient steps you can take with heating and cooling is to seal up any air leaks you find, typically around doors and windows. Don’t forget to have the attic insulation checked too – it may be time to add or replace the insulation. Ready to get started with new energy-efficient heating? Give us a call at 985-764-8191.