Properly constructed, a house is intended to be almost entirely air-tight, which helps to cut down on heating and cooling costs. Older homes, and potentially yours if it was constructed more than five years ago, tend to develop drafts, gaps and cold spots over time. Depending on the quality of your home's construction, its age and the materials used, the reason for your high energy costs may not have anything to do with your HVAC system.
Spending On Insulation Saves
One of the least often looked-at parts of your home is your insulation. This is often simply due to the fact that it's tucked into exterior walls, attics and crawl spaces, but if your home isn't staying warm in the winter this should be one of the first places you check. The depth of this insulation will vary depending on your region, so make sure you're working with a qualified contractor to determine whether you're lacking in some area of your home.
In addition to the depth of the insulation present, its composition and installation will also make a difference. Poorly installed insulation will give way to gaps which will allow cold and heat to penetrate through your walls, forcing your HVAC system to work that much harder to compensate. This is especially problematic in attic spaces, where blown insulation can settle or shift, limiting its effectiveness.
Window Seals And Door Drafts
Your doors and windows offer a direct path for hot and cold air, allowing what you want to escape and offering a free pass to what you're trying to prevent. Windows should have caulk around their joints and insulation between their frame and the nearest stud. If your windows are older, consider shelling out a few dollars for clear window film until you can have them replaced and properly installed.
The seal around your door is a much different monster, simply because exterior doors are designed to be opened and closed regularly throughout the day. Not only should the door frame have a proper seal, the door itself should be flush against its jamb. If it's not a snug fit, some self-adhesive weather stripping will fill the gap until a permanent fix can be found.
If you're tired of high electric bills because of heating and cooling, don't blame it all on an older HVAC system. While it's important to keep your furnace and air conditioner in good working order, some of the blame may lie elsewhere, so make sure you're addressing all the possible suspects for a more complete solution.
For more information, contact a company such as Heatwave Heating & Cooling Inc.