Sustain Times

Home Energy Saving Tips too!

Upgrade Your Home – Reduce Energy – Installation Priorities

Here is our priority grouping for energy upgrading your home.  Spend your money wisely on the biggest energy gains first.

  1.  EASY TO INSTALL (do these first as they are low or no-cost)
  • Install LED bulbs (don’t wait for old bulbs to burn out, it doesn’t pay to wait.)
  • Add Blown Insulation for Walls  (and attic space too)
    Add Blown Insulation for Walls (and attic space too)

    Install insulation in your attic space and walls (be sure to air seal first).

  • Turn down your water heater temperature (water too hot wastes energy)
  • Configure a morning/evening timer for your existing 24/7 hot water recirculating system.
  • Use power strips to turn off TV and audio equipment when not in use, reducing your standby power use.  Use a remote outlet if you can’t reach behind your wall-mounted big screen TV.
  • Install weather stripping and caulk around doors and windows to the outside.
  • Configure a timer for your pool pump (we’ve learned 3-5 hours runtime will keep your pool clean).
  • Configure a timer for your hot tub water heater (lower by 10 degrees when not using it, cover the tub too).

2.  MODERATE EFFORT/ EXPENSE TO INSTALL (You can reduce your energy use with moderate investment)

  • Install a hot water demand pump (this is the fix for “the long wait for hot water in your shower”.  Install this pump under your bathroom sink, rather than increase your hot water temperature.  Your water heating gas bill will be lower.
  • Drive an electric car/EV.  True, fueling a gas car is not part of your home energy, but is a major use of gasoline consumption and cars cause pollution.  We recommend you drive an electric car/EV and install a home EV charger.  There are so many gains here: EV’s are low maintenance, there is no smog check ever, also no tune-ups, no oil changes and electricity cost you less than gas per mile driven.
  • Install an energy efficient electric induction cooktop and electric oven (when not cooking with gas, you will save money and your indoor air quality will improve too).  Here is a user story about cooking with this modern cooktop.
  • Install an electric heat pump clothes dryer (heat pumps are a better choice because they have a shorter cycle than condensing dryers).

3.  MORE WORK AND INVESTMENT TO INSTALL (most times, do these after completing all the above)

  • Solar panels (PV system which are electricity generating, not water heating); or buy solar/other clean energy from your local utility called community choice electric.
  • Install double-pane insulating windows, a good idea after you’ve air-sealed and insulated your home ceiling and walls.
  • Heat pump water heater; wire the electric circuit before your gas water heater leaks and fails.  We recommend a larger water heater, 80 gallons in many cases.  Larger capacity increases your energy efficiency (look for rebates to offset install cost).  View an 80 gallon Rheem Ruud installation.
  • Backup home battery, great for power outages.
  • Replace your home roof, when required, especially before solar panel installation.  When doing this, include radiant barrier plywood or chipboard for the roof decking (decking is the wood the shingles are nailed to) and have a ridge vent installed to keep your home cooler during the summer months.  Also when replacing your roof, choose lighter colored shingles which will reflect more heat, keeping your home cooler in the summer.
Roof Ridge Vent Keeps Your Home Cooler During the Summer
Roof Ridge Vent Keeps Your Home Cooler During the Summer


4. LAST, MOST COMPLEX AND MORE EXPENSIVE TO INSTALL

Install a mini-split heat pump, also known as heat pump space heater and air conditioner.  When you have a contractor install, be sure your contractor does these steps before install:
– Blower door test to check for building air leaks
– Visually inspect building insulation
– Thermal scan of building, checking for energy leaks
– Load calculation to correctly size heating system to building load/requirements

Be sure your install contractor is qualified to handle the gas refrigerant used in heat pump systems.  Refrigerant leaks are a polluting gas that is unhealthy in our environment.


MORE WAYS to reduce your home energy usage

Simple energy efficiency recommendations here.

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