Different regions have different home comfort requirements, but no matter where you live, energy savings is important in today’s economy and for the environment. In the Sacramento area, the range of temperatures we experience throughout the year means that both your heating and cooling systems need to function efficiently. There are also steps you can take to increase the overall efficiency in your home.
A useful online tool called the Energy Star Home Advisor offers strategies to do just that based on where you live and how you heat and cool your home. For example, for a hypothetical Folsom Sacramento home that uses a heat pump for A/C and heat and a gas water heater, the Home Advisor suggested the following:
- Seal air leaks. The best way to find all the air leaks in your home is to conduct a home performance evaluation. Hiring a professional will ensure that all the sources of energy loss in your home will be identified so you can make the appropriate repairs.
- Insulate ducts. First, seal any air leaks found in your ductwork, then add insulation to ductwork that is in unconditioned spaces such as the attic, basement or crawl space. In Sacramento, an insulation level of R-6 is appropriate for ductwork.
- Add insulation elsewhere. In addition to the ductwork, insulation should be added to the attic to a level of R-38. You should also check the exterior wall frames and add insulation if it does not already have an R-value of 19.
- Upgrade equipment. Cooling and heating technology has come a long way in the past 10 years. If you have older equipment, you can probably gain significant energy savings by upgrading to a newer, energy-efficient system. Look for heat pumps with a minimum SEER rating of 13 and HSPF rating of 7.7.
- Use your thermostat. If you don’t already have one, a programmable thermostat can provide major energy savings by regulating the temperature settings while you are away. If you do have one, talk to your contractor about the most efficient settings for your home and lifestyle.
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