How to Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

One of the most searched-for topics online—and one of the things we are asked about most often by customers—is how to improve energy efficiency in and around the home. We attribute this interest, first and foremost, to the fact that an energy-efficient home is one that costs homeowners far less to heat and cool. These are savings that can add up big time. Not to mention that many energy-efficient home improvements are rewarded with rebates and tax credits. And of course a home that’s not hemorrhaging energy dollars through cracks, gaps, and crevices is also a more “green friendly” home, reducing a homeowner’s carbon footprint.

Installing a top-sealing damper can help save energy by keeping draft happening without obstruction.

Installing a top-sealing damper can help save energy by keeping draft happening without obstruction.

Did you know that an energy-efficient home may also stay cleaner and attract fewer pests? With fewer entry points, less dirt and dust will find its way into your home. And insects will have a more difficult time gaining access. In other words, an energy-efficient home is a win-win-win-win. Certainly there are some up-front expenditures, but many homeowners find once they do the math that these expenditures will pay for themselves within a short period of time. If you live in Mebane, Chapel Hill, or Burlington, North Carolina, and want to know more about energy efficiency, contact Fire Safe Chimney Sweep at 919-304-6111.

How Fire Safety Chimney Sweep Can Help Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

As for Fire Safe Chimney Sweep’s role in improving your home’s energy efficiency, we can help in two ways.

1) First, we can offer you dramatic savings by installing a state-of-the-art top-sealing damper atop your chimney. This device will ensure an airtight seal on your chimney when you are not using it, allowing you to experience immediate savings on your monthly energy bills. Many older fireplaces still have throat dampers, installed above the firebox. Throat dampers are notoriously leaky and many are in disrepair. Plus, the savings afforded by throat dampers simply cannot afford with those offered by top-sealing dampers; studies have shown that even modern throat dampers may leak up to $200 in heating and cooling costs annually.

Top-sealing dampers are made of cast aluminum or stainless steel and use rubber gaskets to keep conditioned air inside your home where it belongs. However, when you are ready to light a fire in your fireplace or stove, you can easily open your damper’s pop up lid with a handle that drops down your chimney flue. Dampers provide benefits beyond energy savings, too, keeping water, debris, and animals out of your chimney. This can help prevent expensive water damage, deterioration of your chimney, and prevent the formation of fire hazards. In the end, we cannot stress enough how important and valuable it is to have a damper atop your chimney. Read more about dampers here.

2) Secondly, we can clean your dryer ducts removing copious amounts of compacted lint and dust. These lint boulders, which we’ll be happy to show you upon removal, can become both fire hazards and impede the efficiency of your dryer. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are 15,500 fires, and 310 injuries that result annually from dryers. These numbers increase each year because in many new construction homes clothes dryers are being put in a central location, whereas clothes dryers in the past were more often installed along an exterior wall. This modern construction trend means dryer ducts are now much longer and have to make more turns, so that clogs are far more likely to occur.

In addition to creating a fire hazard, a dryer duct that’s blocked by lint won’t be able to dry clothes as quickly. Even a half-inch of lint in a four-inch dryer vent can reduce airflow by 50 percent; this means more energy must be used and more money spent to do laundry. A clogged dryer duct might also begin to vent hot air and carbon monoxide into the home.

To determine if your dryer duct needs cleaning, Fire Safe Chimney Sweep will conduct a dryer vent inspection, during which we’ll use a meter to test your dryer vent’s airflow. If the airflow rates 11 or higher, your dryer vent does not need to be cleaned; however, if the air flow is 10 or below, your dryer vent needs to be cleaned. Questions about our dryer vent cleaning? Just let us know. We’re happy to answer.

For more tips on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, we recommend visiting this energy saving guide.