In an era where sustainability and cost-efficiency are at the forefront of homeowners’ minds, taking proactive steps to enhance your home’s energy efficiency has never been more crucial.
Your home is not just a shelter; it’s an ecosystem where every component plays a vital role in maintaining comfort and managing utility bills. From the windows and doors that invite in natural light to the roof that shields you from the elements, and the insulation and furnace that regulate your indoor climate, each element contributes to your home’s overall energy performance.
Learn how to perform an energy assessment on your home and discover the essential practices for improving your home’s energy efficiency. These simple yet impactful measures will not only reduce your carbon footprint but also put extra dollars back in your wallet.
1. Look for Air Leaks
Small air leaks through windows, doors, the roof and flooring may not seem significant, but collectively, they can add up.
Imagine leaving a small window open constantly during the entire winter. That’s how much air leaks from the average home in America.
The potential energy savings from reducing air leaks through your home can range from 10% to 20% per year according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and your house is generally much more comfortable after you eliminate drafts.
Start by pinpointing drafts within your home.
Check Your Windows
Leaks around the frames of windows can wreak havoc on your energy bills and cause premature deterioration of your home.
Inspect the sill and window frame for visible gaps or cracks. Seal any gaps using caulk or foam sealant. When frames or sills are damaged severely, you’ll likely need to replace the windows.
Look for visible damage to weather stripping and seals around the window panes and sash. Damage in these areas may also indicate that you need to replace windows.
Check for air leaks using a candle by following these steps:
- On a windy day when air movement is more pronounced, close all windows and doors.
- Shut off the HVAC system to prevent air movement from being created by your heating and cooling system.
- Light the candle, and hold it near the window frame, starting with the area around the window.
- Slowly move the flame around the window frame, paying close attention to any signs of flame flickering that indicates air leaks.
When you find air leaks, mark them with a pencil or a small piece of tape to indicate their locations.
Use appropriate materials to seal the air leaks. Depending on the size and location of the leaks, you may need to use caulk, weather stripping, or foam sealant.
Once you’ve sealed the leaks, repeat the air leak detection test to ensure that you’ve effectively sealed all the problem areas.
If you find lots of air leaks, it may be time to replace your windows with new, energy-efficient ones. Schedule a free in-home consultation with a Sears window expert to get your project started.
Examine the Exterior Doors
Preventing air leaks through exterior doors is essential for maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient home.
Here are several steps you can take to find and prevent air leaks through exterior doors:
- Install or replace weather stripping around the door frame. Common types of weather stripping include adhesive foam tape, V-strip seals and door gaskets. Ensure a snug fit between the weather stripping and the door frame to prevent gaps where air can escape.
- Install, adjust or replace door sweeps. Adjustable sweeps work well for ensuring a tight seal. Make sure door sweeps seal the gap between door bottoms and their thresholds.
- Examine the door thresholds. Look for gaps or damage in all door thresholds. If you find a damaged threshold, you’ll likely need to replace it.
- Inspect the door frame. Ensure the door frame is securely attached to the wall. Loose frames can create gaps that allow air to leak. Inspect the area around the door frame for any gaps or cracks and apply caulk to seal them.
- Inspect the door. Check for any damage to the door itself, such as warping or rotting, which can create gaps. Replace the door if it’s damaged.
If you’re unsure about the condition of your doors and frames or if you suspect significant air leaks, schedule a free in-home visit with a Sears consultant to inspect your doors and recommend solutions for your door problems.
If your current doors are old and not energy-efficient, consider upgrading to new, energy-efficient exterior doors. Look for doors with high ENERGY STAR® ratings.
Consider installing storm doors if your climate requires them. Storm doors provide an additional layer of insulation and protection against drafts.
Inspect Your Home’s Siding
Damaged siding can cause drafts. Also, exposed insulation behind damaged siding won’t insulate your home properly.
Look for these problems while examining your home’s siding:
- Cracks or holes. Check for any visible cracks or holes in the siding material.
- Warped or buckled siding. Look for sections that appear to be warped, bowed, or buckled.
- Loose siding. Check if any siding panels are loose or coming away from the wall.
- Gaps or separations in joints and seams. Pay close attention to the joints and seams between siding panels. Ensure they are properly aligned and that there are no gaps or separations.
- Rot or decay. Carefully check for rot or decay in siding, fascia and soffits.
After completing the siding inspection, prioritize the repairs needed. Minor issues like small cracks or loose panels may be manageable as DIY projects, while more significant problems should be addressed by professionals.
When you get to the point where you need to replace your home’s siding, schedule a free in-home consultation with a Sears expert and we’ll help you get the project started.
Check Your Roof
A damaged roof can cause drafts in your home, and water leaking through a bad roof can damage insulation and the interior home structure.
Follow these steps to check your roof for damage:
- Use binoculars to get a close look at the roof. Check for shingles that are curled, cracked, distorted, buckled or missing.
- Check gutters and the ground below downspouts for gritty granules worn from the surface of shingles. Shingles that have lost their protective granular coating deteriorate quickly.
- Look inside your attic and check for daylight coming through the roof.
If you see any of the above, schedule a free in-home consultation with a Sears roofing expert to begin the process of replacing your roof.
2. Check the Insulation
Heat loss through the floor, ceiling, and walls in your home can be significant if proper insulation isn’t in place. As noted above, roof or siding damage can cause insulation problems.
Check the attic for missing or damaged insulation. When your house was built, the builder likely installed the amount of insulation recommended at that time. If you have an older home, you may consider adding more attic insulation.
Check the insulation in any other areas that are accessible such as the basement or crawl spaces.
If you find any insulation problems that you’re unable to fix yourself, call in a contractor to fix the issues.
3. Inspect Your Heating System
Check the air filter and replace it if it’s dirty. A clean air filter is essential for efficient furnace operation. Replace the filter monthly or as required by your model of furnace.
Set the thermostat to heat and jack the thermostat temperature setting up until the furnace turns on. Check for hot air coming through the vents to verify that the thermostat and heating system are working properly.
If you detect any problems with your furnace, schedule service with a Sears Technician and we’ll fix the system.
If your furnace is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing it with a newer, energy-efficient unit. A new furnace will greatly reduce your energy consumption, especially if the existing equipment is in poor condition. Schedule a free in-home consultation with a Sears HVAC expert to begin replacing your furnace.
To make sure your new HVAC system does the best job it can do, we go beyond just installing a new heating or cooling unit. We also check the condition of the ductwork and your home’s insulation, and make recommendations based on what we find.
Sears Home Services has been making homes more comfortable and energy efficient for more than 30 years. Trust Sears for all of your home improvement needs.