Energy Upgrade California

Published January 2012 by

Upgrading your home’s energy-gobbling appliances can save you money and add value to your home. Most homeowners realize that using more energy-efficient air conditioning and heating units will lower their gas and electricity bills, but some homeowners may not be aware that improving windows, ductwork and insulation creates a more efficient and economical energy system overall. Renovating or upgrading each part of your home’s energy system may seem like a daunting—and expensive—task, but most homeowners can take advantage of incentives and rebates offered by federal, state, and local agencies and utility companies.

House wrappedin plasticOne of the most basic steps to take when upgrading your home’s energy system is to seal off as many energy-wasting cracks and leaks as possible. This includes preventing air leaks in walls or around windows. Allowing warm or cool air to escape your home causes your air conditioner or heating unit to work overtime. Making sure your heating and air conditioning ducts are sealed properly will also prevent cool and warm air loss. Insulating your attic with the latest environmentally-friendly materials will keep your home comfortable no matter what the season, and puts less strain on your air treatment appliances. These basic steps are relatively inexpensive, but they can make a significant difference in your home’s overall energy consumption.

A second benefit to making your home as well-insulated and air-tight as possible, is that when it comes time to upgrade your current heating and cooling units, you will most likely be able to purchase smaller, more affordable models. Furnaces and air conditioners that aren’t heating the outside air through cracks, leaks and non-insulated attics, don’t have to be as robust as those that do.

Installing a new hot water heater — one that has an efficient method of storing hot water, or a tankless model that provides hot water only when it’s needed — can drastically cut your gas or electric bills and decrease demand on our dwindling energy resources. Better yet, look at the new solar water heating systems, a tried-and-true technology, to make hot water using the energy of the sun.

Souble Hung INsulated WindowsEnergy-efficient and well-sealed windows can add both savings and beauty to your home. Awnings, window treatments, skylights — all can play an attractive role in keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

To top it all off, add a roof designed to keep your house cool. Light-colored roofs and roofs made of certain materials that reflect the sun’s warming rays away from your home will lower your energy bills and keep energy consumption lower than dark-colored or heat-absorbing roofs.

Check with your local utility company for any energy-saving upgrade incentives and rebates they may make available to their customers, but act quickly; some offers are time-limited. You may be eligible for up to $9,000 in incentives from your utility company, depending on your energy-upgrade plans. Your city or state may provide additional assistance to improve your home’s energy consumption, and the federal government may grant you thousands of dollars in tax credits for revamping your home using qualified products. If you feel unsure about which way to turn, your best bet is to consult a qualified contractor.

An experienced, trained Sacramento heating and air company that holds the proper licenses and certifications will take a “whole house approach” and look at a comprehensive project as well as individual measures. A Home Performance contractor can assist you with choosing the appropriate energy-upgrade projects and taking advantage of any savings program available to you.

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