Schedule an Appointment

Send Message

Subscribe to our RSS Feed Articles & Tips

Conservation and Efficiency: 2 Important Aspects of Saving Energy in Your Home

Everyone likes to save energy through the heating months, but some of the sacrifices necessary to save energy can be uncomfortable. With many of the advances in home efficiency technologies today, however, you can have the best of both savings and comfort in your West Texas home through a strategy of energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency

Combining energy conservation and energy efficiency provides a distinct aspect to home efficiency strategy that helps you enjoy lower energy bills and maintain or boost comfort. Energy conservation may be thought of as cutting back on a service to save energy. For instance, if you turn back the thermostat a little more than normal to save extra energy, you're practicing conservation. Or, if you limit shower time in your home to reduce the hot water bill, that too is conserving energy with a loss of service or comfort.

Energy efficiency may be defined as saving energy, but without experiencing a loss of service or comfort. This is possible through technologies that offer improved performance and use less energy than their older counterparts. An example of practicing energy efficiency would be a heating upgrade to an Energy Star-qualified modulating furnace or variable-speed heat pump when the time comes. These new comfort systems deliver much better efficiency than older systems, and you’ll enjoy the latest comfort technologies, such as a variable-speed blower.

Home Sealing and Insulation

The typical home’s envelope offers a nice opportunity to invest in energy efficiency upgrades that are practical and designed to last many years. Simple air sealing and ensuring the envelope is adequately insulated improves comfort, lowers energy bills and decreases the load placed on the heating and cooling systems.

The home's envelope is all the parts and devices in the ceiling, floor and outer walls, including windows and doors, that separate the living spaces from the elements. There are many adjoining devices where air leaks may occur. The following home sealing upgrades fall under energy efficiency, since they drive the performance and efficiency of the home envelope and systems.

  • Windows and doors: Caulk and weatherstripping of different materials reduce drafts around windows and doors.
  • Attic: The attic hatch should be sealed with foam weatherstripping. The back of the attic hatch may be insulated with rigid foam board or fiberglass insulation. It’s important to seal the attic before insulating. Light fixtures, piping, flue, cables and any other protrusions into the attic should be sealed up.

    You can test for air leaks using a smoke pencil or incense stick. When the smoke wavers, you've found an air leak. Expanding spray-in foam and caulk are fine for sealing the attic. Insulation may be added to R-38 to R-60 in our West Texas region. Fiberglass, rock wool and cellulose are practical insulation types.
  • Crawl spaces and basement: Check beneath the floor in the basement and attic for air leaks. The same materials used in the attic may be used for air sealing the floor. Rigid foam board may be used to insulate sealed basements and crawl spaces.

Heating Conservation and Efficiency Tips

One of the most important aspects for maintaining an efficient heating and cooling system is regular maintenance. Preventive maintenance entails professional service and performing HVAC tasks at home, such as changing the air filter, keeping grills and outlets free from furnishings and other obstructions. Be mindful of interior doors. A closed door blocks airflow, increases energy usage and degrades comfort. If you use a heat pump for home heating, check on the outside unit periodically for debris and obstructions. It needs free airflow the same as the interior unit.

Simple upgrades to the HVAC system include a programmable thermostat and medium-efficiency air filter. If you're accustomed to using turn-back/up periods to save heating and cooling dollars, you'll certainly appreciate a programmable thermostat. You program the time periods for comfort, such as evening hours, and program turn-back/up periods during working and sleeping hours. The latest programmable thermostats, known as smart thermostats, offer remote access and control and a host of other home automation features.

The air filter is an important part of the HVAC system. The filter protects components from debris that cause excessive wear and could lead to early failure if the problem gets out of hand. A medium-efficiency filter is fine for most households and are available in pleated disposable, electrostatic, electronic and other types.

For more energy conservation and energy efficiency tips, contact Texas Air Comfort to speak with an HVAC contractor near your Texas home.

Back to Articles