4 Keys to Reducing Your Energy Costs (Part 2)

As discussed in Part 1 of this series, there are 4 key areas that affect your home’s energy efficiency. They include:

  • Insulation
  • Moisture Control
  • Air Sealing
  • Ventilation

We covered the first 2 elements in that post, and today we’ll take a look at ventilation and air sealing and how they can help reduce monthly heating and cooling costs.

Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential in order to control moisture and eliminate harmful indoor air pollutants including formaldehyde from construction materials, radon, dust, pet dander, and other allergens. Without an effective exchange between indoor and outdoor air, excessive moisture can also lead to the growth of mold; creating a health hazard and structural damage to your home or workplace.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a ventilation rate of no less than 15 cubic feet per occupant per minute or 0.35 air changes per hour.

The two basic ventilation strategies include whole-house ventilation, spot ventilation, and natural ventilation.

Whole-house ventilation refers to the use of fans and duct systems to circulate air throughout the home. Spot ventilation is typically used in conjunction with at least one of the other types of ventilation and utilizes exhaust fans to rapidly remove moisture and air pollutants at their source.

In most structures, natural ventilation also occurs as small amounts of air move through cracks and holes located around doors and windows.

Air Sealing

Air sealing is among the most effective steps you can take toward improving the energy efficiency of your home or workplace. Natural ventilation via small cracks and holes around the door and windows can allow moisture and harmful indoor pollutants to escape. But this method allows dust and other outdoor contaminants to enter the structure and causes an unnecessary burden on your home’s heating and cooling system.

In order to seal air leaks in your home or workplace, you should consider hiring a professional heating and air conditioning contractor to perform an energy assessment in order to identify air leaks and recommend the best type of sealing material. Air leaks are typically found around door and window frames, mail chutes, outdoor water faucets and where utility cables enter the structure. They can also be found in slab foundations, bricks, stucco, and siding.

Sealing materials include caulk, weather stripping, foam insulation and various types of blanket and batting insulation.

We hope you’ve found these posts helpful. Have additional thoughts on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency? Please share them with us by posting a comment.