If you’re house hunting and find a great deal on an older home that you’re ready to jump on, just remember that in addition to having more problems to deal with than a newer house, the energy efficiency in the home is probably going to be something less than ideal.
After all, though an older home will have some nuances and design characteristics that a newly constructed home will not, chances are that unless there have been some major upgrades since being built, its energy efficiency rating will be nowhere near that of a new home.
But people will argue correctly that it’s easier to make changes on these sort of eco-friendly elements on an older house than it would be for a new home to get the charm of an older house.
If you’ve pulled the trigger on buying an older home, here are some things that you should be doing to ensure your energy efficiency improves.
First, have an energy audit conducted or check with your utility company to see if they are offered for free—and many are. A professional will analyze the home and recommend a set of measures to improve energy performance. This will help guide you into finding the areas of your home that are most vulnerable to energy inefficiency.
Upgrading appliances is always an easy solution and there are plenty of energy efficient refrigerators, dishwashers or washers and dryers out there that you can buy reasonably. Many stores have no-money-down deals and no interest rates, so you can buy these when first moving in and not have to worry about immediate payments.
Changing out windows can be a costly endeavor, so if you don’t want to install energy-efficient windows, a smart alternative is to use interior window Low-E (low-emissivity) films. Energy films block 97 percent of UV rays and 70 percent of thermal infrared light. This will help keep heat gain from getting in during the summer months and retain warmth better in the winter.
Insulating the house better is something that’s not too hard to do and can be relatively inexpensive. You can most likely do this yourself with some friends by following along to a DIY YouTube video. Keep in mind, older houses usually have insulation lacking in attics, crawl spaces, basements, heating and cooling ducts and around water pipes.
Additionally, cover the water heater with an insulated water heater blanket so the heater retains more heat and consumes less energy to heat the water.
Next, buy some ceiling fans as they are great for an old home. In the summer, one should use the fan in a counter-clockwise direction so that when you stand directly under the fan, you will feel a cool breeze. In the winter, one should reverse the motor and operate the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction to produce a gentle updraft, which forces warm air near the ceiling down into the occupied space.