As summer arrives, you may be wondering how you can lower your cooling bills and still enjoy a comfortable home. Annual A/C maintenance is an important factor to improve energy efficiency, however, maintaining even temperatures room to room requires controlling heat gain. Improving window efficiency is a great place to start.
Windows are notoriously inefficient. Sun-facing rooms are susceptible to solar and conduction heat gain, and in our humid region, all porous window materials in the home are subject to swelling and shrinking, which can open up air leaks. The first step to improve energy efficiency is sealing window air leaks.
Larger leaks in drafty rooms are easier to locate. Smaller leaks may be pinpointed by following a few simple steps:
- Close all windows and doors.
- Turn on exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to depressurize the home and draw in outside air in through leaks.
- Slowly trace the perimeter of windows with a smoke pencil or lit incense stick.
- Any air leaks should make the smoke waver.
Window air leaks may be sealed with a combination of weatherstripping and caulk materials. Caulk is used to fill in thin cracks around framing. Weatherstripping materials, such as foam and tension V-strips, are good for sealing double-hung, casement and awning windows.
Window treatments effectively reduce heat gain by providing shade, blocking sunlight and reducing heat gain by conduction. Consider these popular and practical window treatments for your home:
- Solar shades block solar heat gain but don’t obstruct views.
- Insulating curtains are great for any season and can enhance interior aesthetics.
- Awnings provide shade and can effectively reduce heat gain by 65 to 75 percent.
- Shutters add exterior accents to your home, provide security, protect against inclement weather and block sunlight.
For more information how to improve energy efficiency in your New Orleans area home, check out Bryan’s United Air Conditioning energy efficient HVAC services, or call 504-208-2071 today for an appointment!
Image via Flickr by Diego33363