How much of a financial impact the summer heat (or the winter chill for that matter), depends on a number of factors. Theres not much you can do about your geographical location if you live in the deep south, for example.
Some homeowners are not willing to compromise the thermostat setting. But there are things you can do to your home that will lower your utility bills as the days heat up. And in some cases you can reap an energy tax credit. Lets look at a few of them; four specifically.
Beef Up Your Window and Door Weatherstripping
Door and window edges are well-known for leaking not only in the summer but also the winter, robbing your home of temperature-conditioned air.
Luckily for us, weatherstripping is a cheap and quick fix. This makes it a great weekend project. And while youre at it, inspect and fix any exterior caulking.
Install a Radiant Barrier Foil in the Attic
Radiant barrier foil qualifies for energy efficiency tax credits simply because it is classified as an insulation product. Of course, if you claim it, labor installation costs arent included. Thats one reason to make this a DIY project.
The best product on the market (in my humble opinion), is the Energy Q Reflective Thermal Barrier. Its an Energy Star product and the one that NASA wraps their space-bound things with. It costs roughly $0.43 per square foot.
It can be stapled to the attic rafters or exterior wall studs or laid directly on your attic floor. The manufacturer points out that the foil reflects 97% of summers heat.
If your attic is well-ventilated using ridge vents or power or solar attic vents, it will have the space emptied of super-heated air, however the thermal foil barrier will prevent most heat from reaching your living space through the insulation.
If you make the decision to add foil in your attic, at the bottom of this article youll find a link to yet another article where I share tips I discovered when I did my home.
Install a A/C Misting System
An A/C misting system hooks up to your outdoor condenser coils. When the condenser fan kicks on, a valve opens and a fine mist pre-cools the air. This makes your HVAC system work more efficiently. In the long run it saves both money and wear and tear.
Install More Attic Insulation
Putting in additional attic insulation is really the best return on investment (ROI) when it comes to saving money on your heating and cooling costs; and lowering your carbon footprint, if, like Al Gore, you are into that. Also, like radiant barrier, tax credits are there for the taking for the insulation material, but not for installation costs.
When I did my own home, I first sprayed radiant barrier paint in the attic, then added more insulation on the attic floor, and finally laid foil on the insulation. Not the most fun of tasks, but its done and I smile every time I get my electricity bill.
A standard roll of R-30 Owens-Corning fiberglass attic insulation which covers 31.25 square feet costs me only $19.78 at Home Depot. As you can imagine, that pays for itself lickety-split. Fiberglass insulation by itself is excellent at slowing down the conduction of heat energy, but doest prevent it.
Radiant barrier paint or foil is what does that so it is a tag team operation. In fact, insulation will retain the heat even though the sun has gone down and some of it will get through your drywall ceiling. It's all about energy-efficiency.
These are just four inexpensive ways that you can save money on your utility bills. Even though the Cap and Trade Legislation is temporarily shelved, the Obama administration was clever about finding other ways to get the individual points into law. This means a huge increase in energy costs. Adopt these energy-efficiency tips for hot summer weather. Like a good Boy Scout, be prepared.
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About the Author:
Kelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.