Reducing Energy Bills With a Vaulted Ceiling

Vaulted ceilings are a beautiful option in a home, that is, until the monthly energy bill comes in. In such homes, this means higher gas bills in the winter months and higher electricity bills in the summer. The Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling are 54 percent of the home’s energy costs. To reduce your home energy consumption, you have to find a way to reduce electricity despite the home’s high ceilings. There are a few options available to you.

Ceiling and Whole House Fans

Fans run on electricity, but they use much less electricity than the heating and system. According to the DOE, ceiling fans use 81 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, while the components of the heating and air system uses a total of 1684 kilowatt hours per year. You can clearly cut the electricity used to cool and heat a home with high ceilings by reducing the use of the furnace, air conditioner and system dehumidifier each year. More effective use of the ceiling fans and a whole house fans will help.

Using Fans

Install a whole house fan in the attic if you have space in the home. Run it at night during the summer to draw the heat out of the home and into the night air. The air conditioning system then runs less because the home is cooler at night and in the morning hours. The ceiling fans can help in the summer heat as well by drawing the heat up and out of the home. The fan blades must run counterclockwise to accomplish this. In the winter months and colder climate areas, the ceiling fan can pull down the heat created by the furnace or heating system. Run the fan so the the blades are turning clockwise to pull the heat down from the ceiling to the heat the home more effectively. Turn off all fans when the air outside the home is hotter outside than inside. The heat can’t move outside the home until the outside air is cooler. Turn off the ceiling fans in the winter if you feel a draft. That’s a sign that the fans aren’t pulling down the heat.

Insulation

Properly insulated homes can keep cold air out in winter and cool air in during the summer. Plugging air leaks in the ceiling can help. The DOE’s Energy Saver program suggests looking at the ceiling for dirty corners or crevices. These are areas where the air is escaping and entering the home. Energy Savers also urges homeowners to insulate when replacing the roof on the house and when adding or replacing the siding. Homes that were built before 1950 should also get new insulation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also suggests insulating the home if your utility bills are exceptionally high and when the home is difficult to properly heat or cool. Hearing outdoor noise while inside the home is another insulation indicator, as insulation also acts as a noise control.

Window Coverings

Window are a source of air leaks. They are also the places where sunlight can enter a home and contribute to the heat inside. Improperly covered windows can hamper your efforts to reduce electricity use in a home with high ceilings. Fix the problem by placing heavy drapes or coverings that keep out air from wind and heat from the sunlight. In the winter, you can open the drape on sunny days to contribute to the heat from the furnace or heating system. Close the drapes when the sun disappears. Some homeowners also cover the windows in insulating plastic to keep the cold wind out during the winter.

References:

U.S. Department of Energy; Buildings Energy Data Book [http://buildingsdatabook.eren.doe.gov/ChapterView.aspx?chap=2] U.S. Department of Energy; Energy Savers Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home [http://www.energysavers.gov/pdfs/energy_savers.pdf] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Reducing Energy Use [http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/Redu U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Reducing Energy Use [http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/ReduceEnergy.htm]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


− 3 = one