What can you do in your home to save energy? There are many options to consider, as well as many steps to take to obtain maximum health and energy savings from home improvements. Take this quiz and learn about home energy-saving systems.
A positive change that you make in one area of your home can create problems to be addressed in another area, as your home is an integrated system. Be sure that you're aware of the impact a change you make will have on another part of the system.
A home's exterior walls, doors, windows and roof are commonly referred to as the envelope. To keep outside air out and conditioned air in you will need to become an envelope detective to locate and seal even small openings or breaches in your home's envelope.
Most combustion systems require adequate air from within the home to mix with fuel in order to support efficient and safe operation. A basic fact is that combustion systems will draw air from somewhere to fan their fire and where it comes from can be dangerous.
The challenge in sealing a home envelope tightly is to make sure it is not poorly ventilated. In order for systems to work efficiently, as well as for the health and safety of occupants, there has to be adequate ventilation.
A danger exists that, if there is not enough available air, then air could be pulled down an exhaust vent of another operating appliance, drawing poisonous gases into the home; such as via the exhaust of a gas-fired water heater.
A common dangerous condition called back drafting results from a home that is not providing adequate air for combustion products to operate properly.
When exterior-vented exhaust fans, such as bathroom ventilation fans and kitchen range hoods, are operating, their suction can pull gases from the furnace flue into your living spaces, causing a potentially deadly situation.
Your home can be filled with a high level of invisible carbon monoxide gas. This gas is poisonous, absorbed by your body’s red blood cells instead of oxygen, and can result in death.
The only practical and safe solution is to have your heating technician install a supplemental air inlet from outside into your furnace room. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors close to your sleeping areas and one near the furnace room.
According to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, every degree that your home's thermostat is raised in the summer saves 4 to 8 percent on the cost of cooling your house. Properly sealing your homes envelope can also save up to 10 percent annually on heating and cooling.
A common problem of tightly sealed homes without proper ventilation is a heavy buildup of condensation on windows. Moist air condenses on the coldest spots in a home, which are windows, and the problem actually becomes worse with energy-efficient windows, because they don’t leak air.
You need air circulation to prevent build up of chemicals due to off gassing from building materials and furnishings, radon gas, cooking odors and combustion byproducts. Studies show that people spend 90 percent of their time indoors so air quality is an important health consideration.
The best way to improve air quality is by mechanically removing stale air and replacing it with fresh outside air. You can install a whole home heat recovery ventilator that passes inside air through a heat exchanger to pre-heat fresh air entering from outside.
Several manufacturers state that their heat exchangers have a heat transfer efficiency of 92 percent when the outside air temperature is at freezing point, 32°F (0°C). At an outside air temperature of at -13°F (-25°C) efficiency drops to about 89 percent.
In order to avoid the high initial cost and maintenance costs of a large power storage system you will need access to the electric grid as a low wind backup as well as an opportunity to sell excess output to your utility.
Unless you are in a very remote area, the only real source that makes sense financially is solar water or pool heaters and passive solar heating. Most residential solar electric installations are for remote or mobile applications only.
Heating with wood has become very popular over the past several years. Biodiesel fuel is gaining popularity as well but it is not nearly as popular as wood heating.
Regular open fireplaces are notorious for heating inefficiency coming in at a low 10 percent with 90 percent of the heat energy going directly up the flue. Glass doors raise the efficiency a little and a modern fireplace insert can raise efficiency dramatically.
Before making any decisions, you should consult with a wood heating professional. A professional can inspect your home and chimney before making recommendations on what stove is the best choice for your home.
A chimney fire is a dangerous fire inside a chimney caused by creosote buildup due to frequent burning of smoldering fires or using green wood in a stove. A loud roar inside the wall is the most obvious sign of a chimney fire, in which case you should evacuate the home and call 911 immediately.