Beat the Heat This Summer With Energy Efficiency

New York summers are getting hotter with each passing year, causing more Upstate New Yorkers to look for ways to cut down their energy bills. If this sounds like you, now is the perfect time to get out and make home renovations. The right home improvements can help you beat the heat while remaining energy efficient and cheap. If you’re nervous about escalating energy bills and uncomfortably stuffy summer afternoons, read on to see what you can do.  

Does my Home Need Renovations to be energy efficient?

The big question on any homeowner’s mind has to do with whether or not a home really needs to be renovated. This is a difficult question to answer, as every home is different, but there are some things to check for that can help inform your decision. The first and most important thing to do is to get a home energy audit from a BPI-accredited organization. Upon inspecting your home, experts will be able to tell you how your home compares to others in terms of energy efficiency, and the exact steps that you can take to make your home more energy efficient. On top of the audit, a free estimate can help you figure out the overall return on your investment and tell you what renovations will get you the most bang for your buck. The second question to ask yourself is, how old is the house? Are some components that used to be energy efficient aging out and costing you more? Air conditioners that are over 10 years old are reaching the end of their efficiency life spans. Other heat-fighting parts of your home like insulation can last a lifetime under ideal conditions. However, difficult winters and improper installation can dramatically shorten its lifespan. Again, an energy audit will be able to tell you more about the particulars of your home. If you’re on the fence about changing out insulation, keep in mind that fresh insulation is great for winter energy savings as well.  

Are my Windows Properly Insulated?

Most of the time when people think of home insulation, they think of the thick, itchy material that goes between a home’s walls. They’re not wrong but properly installed windows play a critical role in locking in the temperature in your home too. When windows are installed improperly or become loose from age they can let the cool air out of your house at an alarming rate. Have your windows professionally installed to avoid costly errors. You wouldn’t leave your windows open all year-round, so you shouldn’t let air seep in and out of cracks either.  

What Can I do Right Now?

Renovations make up an important part of weatherizing your home, but they won’t mean much without energy efficient practices on the part of the homeowner. Here are some things that you can do to keep cool without cranking up the AC:
  • Plant trees around your house. These will keep your home shaded so that direct sunlight doesn’t start to cook you.
  • Open your windows at night. By opening your windows during the night, you are able to get cool air for free. Make sure to close them again in the morning when things start heating up.
  • Close your blinds. This is particularly important for windows that are in direct sunlight. Letting this sunlight into your home is a great way to heat up during the winter, but in the summer it can be too much.
  • Cook outside when possible. A hot stove top or oven can contribute to the temperature in your home. If possible, take your cooking out to the grill during the summer.
We might be headed for another hot New York summer, but with a well-maintained home and good energy efficient practices, you can beat the heat without spending too much to keep your AC running.