While the entire country might not experience brutal winters, areas in the Midwest, the East coast and states up north do feel nature’s polar wrath. When the temperatures dip down to the freezing arctic blasts of cold, homeowners might feel that the furnace just isn’t heating the home fast enough. But don’t touch that thermostat!
When sitting at the computer working from home and chilled to the bone, should you plug in a space heater to save energy? Are those portable heaters safe or energy efficient? During the most brutal of winters, here’s how to have an energy efficient house.
Choose Energy Efficient Roofs
Before homeowners start hunting online or in-stores for a portable space heater, they need to evaluate why their home feels so cold. If the issue is simply that an individual just gets cold easily, the solution may just be a blanket. However, if the home really does feel cold despite adjusting the thermostat, there could be other issues.
When homeowners have ruled out an issue with the HVAC, they may need to look into improper insulation throughout the house. If the walls or attack are not properly insulated, cold air will leak in and heat will escape. Not only does this cause the HVAC to work overtime, but it will leave the house feeling colder and may even leave a serious financial dent in the monthly bill.
The amount of insulation (or R-Value) needed depends on the area of the home being insulated as well as the region where the home is located. Homeowners in Florida may need a lower R-Value than a homeowner in Michigan. In addition, walls may need less insulation than the attic.
In addition, the roof also could affect your home’s temperature. Some roof materials help deflect heat and provide better protection overall. Metal is one of the most energy efficient roof materials, but solar panels on the roof can provide additional energy efficient savings by channeling the sun’s power into the home.
The roof also is a good indicator of the home’s attic insulation. Many insulation professionals will note that homes with melting snow on their roof may be lacking insulation. If the snow is firmly planted on that roof, it means that the heat is locked into the home and isn’t leaking through the roof. Trapping in heat and keeping the home warm could be a simple fix of improving the attic insulation. No space heater required!
Install an Energy Efficient Electric Fireplace
Homeowners may check off all the warning signs that could lead to a cold home. When the insulation is great, the roof isn’t an issue and the HVAC is completely fine, should homeowners use a space heater for a little extra heat? Before plugging in a space heater, understand that these small convenient beacons of warmth also have some pretty grim statistics. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Space heaters account for 43 percent of U.S. home heating fires and 85 percent of associated deaths.” Homeowners need to be careful when choosing to use a space heater, and other options may be safer.
If homeowners get cold easily, an energy efficient electric fireplace could be a safer option. On average, homeowners should expect to pay about $900 to have an electric fireplace installed. Those flames emitted by the electric fireplace aren’t real, but the heat produced is definitely warm enough to make a room cozy. Plus, electric fireplaces tend to be safer than gas or wood fireplaces; electric options don’t release carbon monoxide, and the heat won’t escape. Homeowners also don’t have to worry about flying embers or sparks, because, again, the flames aren’t real.
An electric fireplace also uses very little energy. In fact, the cost to run the fireplace is at most three cents an hour.
Energy Efficient House Plans
Homeowners who are embarking on buying—or building—a new home also can ensure their new abode is extra cozy by using energy efficient house plans. The layout of the home can be designed to maximize energy efficiency, including heating and cooling.
Energy efficient house plans could include a specific layout and also incorporate lots of energy efficient appliances. In addition, all rooms could feature ceiling fans to circulate warm and cool air. Walls and attic spaces may boast the best quality insulation (foam!). The roof material could be chosen based on energy-efficiency, too.
When all of these materials, layout design and features are combined, the result could be an energy efficient house that maximizes energy efficiency to keep warm air and cold air locked in during severe temperatures.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit for an Energy Efficient House
Every homeowner can embrace energy efficiency and save money in the process. Conduct a home energy audit to find ways to save energy and money and create an energy efficient house. To conduct a home energy audit, homeowners should tour their home room by room checking plugs, pipes, windows and other areas for energy drains.
Leaky pipes should be repaired, unused appliances and gadgets should be unplugged and windows should be insulated to lock in heat and keep out the elements. To find other sources of energy waste, homeowners can download HomeSelfe. The app will prompt the user to upload photos of each room, and, with these photos, will identify any issues that need to be addressed. Homeowners may discover that their cold room was caused by a window draft or other hidden source.
While small space heaters may not be the safest option for homeowners to use for additional warmth, other options like electric fireplaces could help heat up a room. In addition, there could be other reasons behind a drafty home or cold room; a home energy audit may help homeowners find the cause of their perpetually cold spaces.