In Part 1, I gave you my philosophy of doing energy upgrades which views the home as one component but made up of several systems. Each system impacts the whole and energy upgrades need to be done in a savvy, prioritized manner. In this article, I’m laying out the prioritized improvements I would do to my own home.
- Air sealing. Air sealing is making sure all penetrations through the ceiling, walls and floors are sealed to prevent air leaking in and out of the home.
- Seal ductwork. All ductwork leaks. The goal is to reduce the leaking by using tape and mastic to seal the ductwork. Who wants 25% of your cooling to go into the attic?
- Upgrade insulation to an R-30 level in the ceiling. I prefer blown in insulation to other methods simply because it is a cost versus performance issue. The difference in cost does not equal the difference in performance.
- If I have single pane windows, I personally would consider a Low-E window film that blocks 70% of the solar heat gain before I would consider replacing the windows.
- I would upgrade to a gas tankless water heater installed outside my garage.
- After all these upgrades, when my air conditioner needs replaced, I would have a contractor do a room by room calculation of my heating and cooling load. You should be able to reduce the size of your air conditioner from ½ to a full ton smaller. I would upgrade to an efficiency of at least SEER 15. Any efficiency above that would be based on the additional cost versus the additional savings.
For more information or follow-up questions to any of these topics you may submit questions to me directly at www.fpuc.com/energyexpert
Scott Ranck is the Conservation Program Coordinator & Energy Specialist for Florida Public Utilities. Feel free to e-mail any energy-related questions or comments to Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you understand this concept, in my next article I will give you a prioritized list of improvements going from least expensive to most expensive and in the order of priority.