Often-Overlooked Energy-Saving Solutions

It's April already, which means that the three-week spring temperatures South Texas gets every year will soon make way for the brutal heat of summer. Air conditioners are required to work overtime in our neck of the woods, which typically means hefty electric bills. Thankfully, we all know a few ways to cut back on electricity use; every McMillin home even has a number of energy-efficient features built in. But there are a number of overlooked or lesser-known changes you can make that might allow your wallet a little breathing room even when the mercury is pushing 100 degrees.

Do it Yourself

Change A/C filters monthly

One of the most-often forgotten household chores is one that could save—or cost—you a great deal. Granted, this may be less about your electric bill and more about repair bills; a dirty, clogged filter means less clean air is getting to your system, which could result in a broken unit. Switching filters every month helps ensure your A/C is running efficiently.

Keep drapes or shades closed

True, we've covered this before, but it bears repeating, since windows play such a large part in cooling bills. Besides, this is one of the easiest changes one could make—and one that's typically forgotten. Unless you're home to enjoy the sunlight, keep 'em shut.

Plant a tree

No, that's not a joke; one often-overlooked benefit of proper landscaping is that it can, in fact, help you cut energy use. Plus, it has the added benefit of beautifying your home, so it's win-win. Shading provided by large trees is a given, but shrubs and ground-coverage plants also can help reduce reflected heat.

Leave it to the Pros

Build with radiant barrier sheathing

This one gets overlooked simply because it's out of sight and installed during construction. A radiant barrier helps prevent heat from entering the attic and turning your home into a sauna, not to mention cut your electricity use; moreover, it could help you qualify for energy-efficiency or utility rebates. If you're a McMillin homeowner, you're in luck—TechShield®radiant barriers are standard on all McMillin homes.

Install double-pane, Low-E windows

Since we've already talked about drapes and shades, we might as well consider what's behind them. The ugly truth is that old-fashioned, single-pane windows allow a great deal of heat transfer; newer, Low-E (low-emittance) windows—also a standard feature in every McMillin home—block radiant heat transfer and can keep your home cooler. Likewise, they keep things warmer during winter, so you get year-round savings.

Bump up your insulation

In this case, we're talking about blown-in wall insulation, which typically requires a helping hand to achieve the right level (R-value). McMillin Homes offers blown-in insulation as an option, and it's a valuable one—it fills voids more effectively than roll or batt insulation and helps prevents air infiltration. A well-insulated house is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Tagged in : Energy Efficiency