As you plan your home renovation project, you may be concerned that any expansion of your home’s square footage will present a corresponding increase in electrical costs. These concerns are valid, but can be mitigated by careful planning to include energy saving ways to limit electrical consumption.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can put the brakes on spiraling electrical costs:
Up to the task — Is your current heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system up to the task of handling a larger area? If not, you’ll likely need to replace your unit. The good news is that your new unit should be as much as 20 percent more efficient than a unit installed just 10 to 15 years ago. The bad news is that you’ll have to add this cost to your home renovation budget. One more piece of good news: you may eventually be able to recover the costs of a new HVAC unit through energy efficiency savings.
Replace air filters — Your HVAC system will run more efficiently if you change air filters on a regular basis. Certainly, you may be able to go 90 days between changes, but monthly changes will ensure that your filters do not get clogged. Clogged filters make your HVAC system work harder, consuming more electricity.
Make use of fans — Ceiling fans can cool down or warm up a home, supplementing your HVAC system and allowing you to set the thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter. Choose fans with lights to get needed ceiling lighting when required.
Let in the light — If you live in an area of the country where sunlight is abundant, then consider adding plenty of south facing windows and skylights to the new area of your home. If replacing the roof in its entirety, skylights for other rooms can be considered too.
Seal it up — Chances are that the area of your home not being renovated could stand a check for air leakage. Older windows and doors may need replacing or may be sufficient if enough weatherstripping is in place. Replace cracked strips with new stripping to avoid leakage problems.
Use cold water — If you’re not already cleaning your clothes with cold water only, then you should start doing so immediately. Water temperature is not what clean clothes or removes germs — the detergent does the work. Using warm water requires the hot water heater to kick on, an electrical device that will consume electricity. This tip has nothing to do with a renovation as it can be employed by anyone.
Explain to your contractor your concerns about energy discussion and ask that he include energy conservation measures into your project. Some contractors are experts at sustainable living and will offer up many suggestions on how you can reduce energy consumption, including electrical usage, even as you expand your footprint.