Warmer months bring opportunities to save energy
This time of year, many homeowners are paying more attention to the exterior of their homes. While gardening and lawn care may take up the bulk of their attention, they should also consider energy and water efficiency as part of their home improvement duties. Doing an outdoor energy audit may yield savings that homeowners hadn’t considered.
For one thing, the outside of your home has an effect on how well the dwelling is kept cool on hot days. For instance, adding a ridge vent to the roof, can significantly lower the temperature of hot air that rises and often lingers in the attic without proper ventilation.
Installed at the top of the roof, a ridge vent allows air to flow in and out of the attic along the entire length of the roof peak. When it’s combined with soffit vents in a lower part of the roof that overhangs the house, there’s a steady flow of cool air entering the soffit and exiting through the ridge vent.
The same principle takes place with window fans that are helpful in alleviating some of the hot air that rises in a walk-up attic. In twin-fan models, one fan can be set to exhaust hot air to the outside while the other fan pulls in cooled air from outdoors. Single-fan models also have settings for reversible air flow.
The warmer months also give homeowners opportunities to save energy on other fronts. Installing energy-efficient compact fluorescent or LED bulbs for exterior lighting reduces electricity usage. LED lights come with a bonus – they don’t attract bugs like standard incandescent light bulbs.
The addition of bushes and even a new tree on your property can have an effect on how well your home retains heat in the winter and cool air in hot weather. Greenery blocks cold and wind that may penetrate your home through cracks in the foundation and gaps in insulation. It also keeps the foundation shaded from direct sun in the summer. Small trees and dense shrubs provide a barrier that’s a natural energy-saver.
You can also reduce water usage in summertime by landscaping with drought-resistant shrubs and perennial flowers and leaving grass clippings on the yard when you mow so they provide a natural mulch.
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