Duct sealing is always the first upgrade to perform because the driving force of heat gain through conduction is pressure differences. The greater the pressure differences, the greater the heat gain and vice-versa. Where are the greatest pressure differences in your home? That’s right, the air handler. In fact that fan that blows cool air through the ductwork operates a pressure of around 350 pascals, much greater than the pressure a blower door runs at. When contractors perform duct sealing their priority is to seal around the air handler first, then work their way out all the way to the supply registers.Air sealing is next on the list and is critical if additional insulation is also on your punch list. Once insulation is added it is very difficult to air seal simply because it is difficult to locate electrical penetrations and even recessed lights if they are buried under the insulation. Air sealing should occur around all plumbing penetrations in bathrooms and in the attic, electrical penetrations and open wall chases, around leaky windows and doors should be weatherstipped.Fixing insulation misalignments should be next. Just a 5% gap in insulation will cause the R-value (it’s effectiveness at blocking heat gain) to decrease by 50%. If your home is like mine and has fiberglass batts across the ceiling floor, chances are that it was installed incorrectly. There are two ways to correct that issue. The hard way and frankly very difficult way to try to realign the batts correctly to fit in-between the 2"x6" studs. The more effective method is to remove all batts, use blown-in cellulose insulation to reach crevices and under walking studs, and then place the batts on top of the newly installed insulation.Other Big Hitters
Replacing a single –speed pool pump with a variable speed motor is very highly recommended and has a payback of less than two years.
Energy efficiency standards have come a long way in the last 15 years and replacing that old model with a new unit will start saving you money immediately.
Upgrading your windows can also have a big impact on your comfort and utility bills. Whether to replace, add sunscreens, install storm windows or add window film should be discussed with your energy auditor.
Hybrid Water Heater:
Hot water usage is one of the top three energy users at home. Using a heat pump to heat the water is much more efficient than traditional heating elements, in-fact the estimated energy usage is around $200 per year compared to the $500 with a standard water heater. The cost of hybrid water heaters is also attractive when compared to solar hot water heaters and the pa
The hierarchy listed here is very general and is based on the $99 APS Home Performance with Energy Star, in-home energy audit. Each home is different so results may vary.
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