2 Home Efficiency Mistakes You Might Be Making

Are you trying to figure out why your energy bills are so high? Before you blame the problem on your homebuilders or the fact your kids can't leave the front door closed, you should consider the problems you could be causing. Here are two home efficiency mistakes you might be making, and what you can do to remedy the problem. 

1: Using Your Attic for Storage

When most people think of easy ways to keep their home warmer during the winter and cooler in the summer, the attic is the first spot that they focus on. Because most people know adding insulation to their attics is a great way to create a barrier between their home interior and the elements, they make the mistake of figuring the space would be perfect for storage. Unfortunately, using your attic to store cases of old college textbooks and bean bag chairs won't help to keep your space warmer, and might even damage your existing insulation.

Insulation works by trapping small pockets of air between fluffy pillows of batting, which helps to reduce heat transfer. However, if you shove a bunch of your stuff in your attic, it could crush these pockets of air, which might reduce your insulation's ability to protect your home from outdoor heat and cold, while simultaneously letting your carefully climate-controlled air escape. 

To make matters even worse, most attic floors aren't created to withstand the weight of stored goods, which could cause your attic floor to fail and permanently damage your ceilings. If you want to keep your attic floor intact and your home comfortable all year long, consider keeping your old furniture in that storage shed out back, and leave your attic alone.

2: Picking the Wrong Window Treatments

People these days love the look of barely-there window treatments. Instead of installing those unattractive patterned curtains your grandma loves so much, you probably decided to use white, gauzy curtains that let in plenty of light. Unfortunately, those minimalistic curtains might also be letting heat and cold to pass through your windowpanes, which can drive up your energy bill.

Believe it or not, your windows and doors account for about 25% of your home's heat loss, which is about as much as your attic is capable of losing. If you are serious about keeping your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, you should think about investing in some smarter window treatments. Here are a few options that you should consider:

  • Fabric Drapes: If you want to lower your energy bill, think about investing in thick fabric drapes that have a white reflective backing, which works to filter and repel heat-generating UV light. Research has shown medium-colored curtains with white linings can reduce heat gain in the summer by as much as 33%, and heat loss in the winter by as much as 10%.
  • Cellular Blinds: Cellular blinds, also called honeycomb shades, are blinds made from pleated fabric that create long pockets of air when they are closed. These air pockets provide an excellent layer of insulation, so your home stays comfortable.  
  • Functional Shutters: Although many homeowners screw shutters to the sides of their windows simply for looks, functional shutters are actually a great way to insulate your home all year long. Functional shutters are fixed on hinges, allowing you to quickly block out sunlight whenever you need to reduce heat transfer.

When you shop for window treatments, keep in mind you can use different versions in each room of your house. For example, you might decide to install window shutters on the west-facing side of your home, so  you can block out that harsh afternoon sun.  

By correcting your home efficiency mistakes, you might be able to keep your home the perfect temperature all year long. COntinue here to read more.