Many of my friends have been asking me recently about home efficiency. They’re all undergoing the universal experience that homeowners have about a year after buying their home, where they start to wonder what would make the place better. Efficiency is high up there on the list to make things ‘better,’ so I’ve offered my friends the following advice on what is essential for a high-efficiency home in the Houston area.
1. Proper Insulation
Proper Attic Insulation is essential because it’s fairly inexpensive and will improve both home efficiency and comfort. The vast majority of homes across Houston are under insulated. The Energy Star Recommended level of insulation is R-30 to R-60, but that doesn’t mean much to most homeowners. Instead, go into your attic and measure how deep the insulation is with a ruler. Standard new blown fiberglass insulation should be a minimum of nine inches of depth from top to bottom, but more is always better.
There are other ways to additionally insulate your attic. A radiant barrier (shown in the first picture above) is just aluminum foil under your roof that reflects radiant heat, reducing attic temperatures up to 23 degrees and dropping the heat load on your house significantly. This allows your HVAC system to run less frequently, especially during peak demand. This also means that if your HVAC system does not have to work as hard you won’t have as many costly repairs and the longevity of the system will be extended.
Lastly, if you want to go the distance, investigate foam insulation (pictured above). This is applied under the roof and seals the home, as it is typically non-porous.
2. High-Efficiency HVAC System
A high-efficiency air conditioning system with a minimum of 16 SEER and a variable speed furnace is a must. In order to achieve high levels of HVAC efficiency, the system should be properly matched up, meaning all primary pieces of equipment (furnace, evaporator coil and condenser) should be matching. This is the only way to achieve the ‘true’ factory intended efficiency in your home.
Many homeowners don’t know this, but your furnace fan works during the summer by blowing air through your home. This is why having a variable speed furnace in Houston is a good idea.
Installation is as important as choosing the right system for your home. In order for systems to reach their full potential, you must have a qualified company install it. Those with less experience can create issues that will largely go unnoticed in the short term. Having a reputable installer is of utmost importance.
3. Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters are increasing in popularity because of their many benefits, including instant hot water and higher efficiency. It works only when you need it, and you’ll no longer run out of hot water. Be sure to have a professional, experienced plumber bid this work out. Many homeowners look online and see that a tankless water heater will cost about $1,000, but there’s much more to installation than the price of the appliance.
Compared to your old tank, the tankless heater needs more gas quickly to heat the water instantly. The installation often entails upgrading your gas line, and homes that use a lot of hot water, like those with children, may need more than one water heater.
Take Steps Toward Home Efficiency
With these upgrades, you can easily beat the top sources of home inefficiency. Mission AC & Plumbing is Houston’s go-to HVAC and plumbing expert. Whether you need a new HVAC system, a tankless water heater or a point in the right direction for an insulation upgrade, we have you covered.
Contact us today for more information or to begin a service request.