October is Energy Awareness Month

Did you know that almost half of most home energy dollars are spent on heating and cooling costs? It doesn’t have to be that way. October is National Energy Awareness Month so we thought now would be a good time to share some home improvement areas you should look at to achieve some significant energy savings.

Your first order of business is to determine if you have any problem areas. The US Department of Energy recommends a home energy check-up. This is a series of tests done by a certified energy conservation specialist. There are several places you can request a free energy audit for your home here in eastern Iowa including Alliant Energy.

The most common and costly areas for energy loss occur where the interior of your home meets the elements.

Are Your Windows Energy Efficient?

Is your home drafty around the windows? Are the seals no longer working? Some window problems can be resolved with a simple repair, but others can’t be fixed. Do an inventory of your window issues to help you decide if repair or replacement is the answer. The air infiltration rate (how much air is passing through the window in a closed position) is the best indicator of window quality. You may be able to address some air infiltration issues by replacing the weather stripping or caulk. However, if the draftiness and air leakage is caused by lack of insulation in the windows themselves or by poor installation, you may be better off replacing the window entirely. New, energy efficient windows usually pay for themselves in the form of lower heating and cooling costs over time.

Entry Door Wear and Tear

The doors to your home – front door system, garage entrances, and patio doors – may be costing you energy dollars as well. Constant foot traffic, extreme temperatures, rain, snow and ice on the threshold – all these elements can make your door function poorly and lead to energy loss.

Sometimes you can fix problems with your doors but if not, replacing poorly performing doors with more energy efficient ones can save you money and make your home more comfortable all year long.

Siding Insulation Savings

Inefficient or damaged siding can be a real problem when it comes to energy losses. The exterior cladding of your home creates a thermal blanket that adds a layer of protection from the elements, creates a moisture barrier and offers at least some level of insulation. If your siding is damaged, tearing away from the home or if the siding was poorly insulated to begin with, you are probably experiencing air leakage and driving up your energy costs.  Lower energy bills, a quieter home on blustery winter nights, and more evenly heated living spaces are just a few benefits of well-insulated siding.

Need more information? You can download FREE eBooks and checklists for a variety of home improvement topics at our Resources Center including our latest eBook, the Homeowners Guide to Replacement Windows.
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