Healthy and Energy Efficient Homes
A happy, healthy home starts in your crawl space or basement and moves upward through the first and second floors, and into the attic.
Crawl Spaces, Basements and Cellars
The damp, moldy, and musty air that plagues crawl spaces and basements can make its way up through the rest of a house. This creates an unhealthy living environment for the people in it. There are also a number of ways to make the often-ignored areas of a home, like a basement or crawl space, more energy efficient to benefit the whole house.
High levels of humidity in a crawl space can be a detriment to a home. Once humidity from outside enters the home through the damp soil or porous concrete foundation, it is pulled up through the rest of the house through what is called the stack effect. The moisture that comes with this humid air can get trapped behind anything, and high humidity and moisture levels can quickly become a haven for mold and mildew. The New York Times reports that mold can grow in heating/air conditioning systems, around leaks, under carpeting or hidden behind walls, and can cause health problems ranging from itching eyes, sneezing and coughing to serious allergic reactions, asthma attacks and even permanent lung damage.
Encapsulating your crawl space will help you save money on energy bills and prevent mold. Warm, humid air is difficult to cool in the summer and would keep your air conditioning running more than it should. And in the winter, keeping as much cold air out of your home as possible will help keep heating bills low.
Living Areas, Bathrooms and Attics
There are many other ways to save money in your home, as well. Making your house energy efficient will keep your money from going out the window, and living more eco-friendly will benefit the entire planet. Planet Green recommends using fluorescent light bulbs, as they use about a quarter as much energy as incandescent lighting and can last many times longer. You should also use water filters and reusable thermoses instead of wasting money and resources on bottled water.
Instead of having large water heaters that heat way too much water all the time, install a tankless hot water heater that doesnít store any but makes it available on demand. Itís 97 percent energy efficient and can pay you back in five years. Get some zero-energy sustainable housing plans and more from The Natural Home.
Prepare your home for the seasons by weatherizing it. Home Depot offers a number of suggestions to make your home more energy efficient such as caulking around windows and doors to eliminate drafts, closing the flue on your fireplace when itís not in use, and checking the weather stripping under your doors and garage doors to make sure it isnít worn.
Your attic can be the source of wasted energy and high home heating and cooling bills as well. Make sure that your attic insulation meets the R-value for your area to prevent cold air from infiltrating your house in the winter and hot air from getting in during the summer. Foam insulation is a very popular and affordable option to keep your energy bills from going through the roof!
Keeping your home healthy and energy efficient will benefit you and your entire family. Start at the bottom of your home in your crawl space or basement and work your way up to make your entire house happy, healthy and green for years to come!
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