Friday, 22 June 2018

Lower temps at a lower price: How to improve the energy-efficiency of your home today

When the seasons change, the energy needs in your home change right along with them. And yet, whether you need to heat or cool your home, there's one thing that never shifts: You want to do so as efficiently as possible.

An energy-efficient home is more than just good for the environment. It's good for your pocketbook as well. By eliminating any unnecessary energy expenses you ensure you have more money to spend enjoying all the season has to offer.

You can start making your home more energy-efficient today and it begins with these four tips.

* Get proactive about your insulation. Your home's insulation is often treated with an out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality, yet improvements here could dramatically support your home's energy-efficiency. While insulation is commonly seen as a benefit to keep your home warm in the winter, it also works to keep cool, air-conditioned air inside as well. Your insulation needs depend, in part, on where you live, but it's worth your time to research this opportunity. Check to see that you have sufficient insulation and make additions or replacements as necessary.

* Bring your windows into focus. The role your windows have in dictating the temperature in your home can be considerable. Older windows allow cool air to escape outside and that makes your air conditioner work harder to control the interior temperature. Replacing them eliminates this problem and sets you up to more easily retain heat during the winter. And if new windows simply aren't possible right now, you can also make a smaller, more immediate impact on your energy-efficiency by closing the curtains during peak sunlight hours. This helps keep the temperature of your home cooler and reduces stress on your unit.

* Consider alternative energy sources. Instead of simply focusing on what you can do with your current energy situation, expand your options to alternative energy sources as well. Installing home solar panels can drastically cut or even eliminate your electricity bills and even increase your home's resale value. Newer systems maximize sunlight absorption and generate the maximum possible output - as much as 26 percent more than other comparably sized solar panels. This higher efficiency means that your solar panels can work in any climate or season to deliver for you.

If you buy an AC with a lower than required capacity—measured in tonnage—it will consume a lot more energy to provide the requisite cooling. Lower capacity units may save you on capital cost, but it will increase the electricity consumption and also decrease the life span of the device.

If you buy an AC with a higher than required capacity, you will end up paying more for the purchase, besides getting large power bills.

Energy efficiency ratings

To help you buy energy-efficient ACs, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in 2016 came up with a new rating methodology, ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) Ratings, which are better and stringent. Higher the star ratings of an AC, lesser the power it consumes. This, however, does not mean that you should always go for a 5-star rated AC, say experts.

The decision should mainly be based on your usage pattern. If you are going to run the AC for few hours daily, then a 3-star rated AC is good enough. Also, lower star-rated ACs usually have higher air circulation rate, so your room cools faster. Experts suggest that only if your AC usage is over eight hours do you need the costlier but less power consuming 5-star rated AC, to make a worthwhile difference to your electricity bill.

After-sales service Much like cars, ACs need regular servicing for optimum performance. So, one of the things you need to keep in mind before buying an AC is the company’s aftersales service, and warranty. A little research will throw up names of the best and the worst service providers. Choose appropriately.

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