1. Seal the Ducts
SRP estimates that the typical Phoenix home loses 20% of its air-conditioned air through faulty ducts. Some installers will take shortcuts when it comes the dealing duct leaks but ENERGY STAR tells us that a duct system that is properly sealed can save up to 25% of heating and air conditioning costs. We use a blower door test to pressurize the ductwork and measure the duct leakage on every register to get accurate readings to tell if there is leakage and how much. A leaky duct system can be solved with a mastic duct sealant or Aeroseal.
2. Air-seal the House
Chances are, when your house was built, the builder ran wires and plumbing plates through holes in the wall that are much bigger than the wires themselves. That extra space around the wires can let your expensive, air-conditioned indoor air leak outside—and invite hot, summer air inside. This leads to heat gain quickly. With the same blower door test out energy auditors can tell where the air is leaking from and how much is coming into the house.
3. Add Insulation or Fix Improperly Placed Insulation
In hot climates, having a well-insulated attic is crucial. This means insulation should have an “R” value (efficiency rating) of at least 38 or higher. Some homes in Arizona don’t have any attic insulation at all or have attics with insulation where it’s improperly installed. For example in Laveen, many builders went bankrupted, cut corners and it's common that our energy auditors find insulation completely missing above rooms. In other homes, just the age of the home warrants adding more insulation because the building codes for insulation have increased so much in the past 30 years alone. Some homes have zero insulation in the walls and insulation that has settled so much you can see the attic floor trusses. If your attic has fiberglass batt insulation, beware... the Pink Panther is not your friend here.
4. Shade Your Windows
Windows are one of the things that are most to blame for heat entering your home. Help keep this heat out by closing curtains on the sunny side of your home or adding shade screens to your windows. According to the Electric League of Arizona, shade screens can reduce heat from the sun by about 50%. In hot dry climates like Arizona, Los Angeles, Texas and Florida, windows are the number one source of heat gain in homes.
5. Fix Airflow Problems
In Arizona, ductwork has not been HVAC contractors specialty. In fact, it's probably one of the worst installation aspects of the installing AC contractors. Bad duct design, undersized and oversized ductwork and improper air balancing are all too common mistakes that have yet to be fixed even on new homes in Arizona. An energy audit will inspect the ductwork layout, sizes and design determine deficiencies that could be easily overlooked.
Upgrade Lights and Appliances
Incandescent light bulbs add heat to your home and use far more electricity. Swapping them out for CFLs or LEDs can significantly reduce your energy use and has one of the fastest payback times of any energy improvement you can make. In fact, Home Depot and Lowes sell self-contained LED lights, which provide much needed air sealing of notoriously leaky recessed canned lights.
Get a home energy audit to get an in depth view of how your home is using energy. Homeowners won’t know which energy improvement projects are the most cost-effective if they don’t know how well or poorly their home uses energy. Home energy audits help pinpoint energy leaks and malfunctioning systems, and provide cost-benefit analyses for various energy-saving fixes. This service can find up to 35% in energy bill savings.