Making Your Home more Energy Efficient

While technically it’s still summer, fall is on its way, bringing with it cooler temperatures and rainy weather. If you haven’t turned the heat on already, you most likely will soon. In the construction industry, the outside of a house is often referred to as the “shell” or “envelope” for good reason – it protects it from the elements. Is your home ready for the changing seasons? Here are some ways to make your home exterior more energy efficient.

What’s the Roof Up To?

If you haven’t inspected the roof in awhile, now would be a good time. Look for missing roofing tiles; roofing shingles that are worn and should be replaced; loose flashings; and roof vents that need caulking. Missing tiles or ones that are old threaten a roof’s ability to retain heat.

Working Gutters

A well-maintained gutter system that works properly typically doesn’t leak. Leaking gutters can cause water damage, which in turn might eventually compromise other components of your home’s exterior such as the foundation, siding or roof.

Doors and Windows

Double or triple pane windows are more energy efficient that single pane. The panes shouldn’t be rattled by the wind. Ensure that they fit securely in their frames. Around the frames, look for gaps where cold air can come inside or warm air can escape out.

A door must fit tightly in its frame. Check the frame for warping or rot. If the door includes glass, make sure the window is caulked (if needed). Doors and windows that allow heat to escape make your home less energy efficient.

Siding Matters

Siding doesn’t just protect your home; it also helps increase its energy efficiency. Different types of siding material have different R-values (a building material’s ability to resist heat flow). The higher the number, the better it contains heat, making the material more energy efficient. For example, vinyl has a higher insulating value than aluminum. While vinyl siding is energy efficient than other kinds of siding, it isn’t as eco-friendly as aluminum siding or wood siding, because of the chemicals used in its production. However, as an energy efficient barrier between your home and the elements, the performance of any type of siding can be improved when combined with the appropriate house wrap, designed to protect against moisture, air and/or vapor.