install programmable thermostat

A programmable or "set-back" thermostat saves energy by reducing the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors -- and thereby the rate of heat transfer to the outdoors -- while you're away from home or tucked in bed.  If you program it to bring the temperature back to a comfortable level before you get home or wake up, you may not even notice that it was changed!  Homes that are built of wood and drywall will save more energy with a programmable thermostat than homes that have a lot of concrete, tile, or stone indoors, because dense materials don't change temperature as rapidly as light ones.

We recommend programmable thermostats even for people who are home all the time and like to keep the temperature constant, because when they sell their homes, the next owners will probably not be home all the time.

1958-2000 ranch house, Osage City

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Tue, 04/11/2017 - 17:38

This ranch house was originally built in 1958 with a vented crawl space.  In 2000 it was fully renovated and added onto, and the addition had a basement with a heat vent in it... however, the basement was connected to the crawl space, which was still open to the outdoors.  This resulted in a huge loss of conditioned air out through the crawl space.  Our main recommendation is to seal the crawl space off from the outdoors so that this air is no longer lost.

1930s Cape Cod, Waverly

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Mon, 04/10/2017 - 13:32

This rural home uses propane in the high-efficiency furnace and upstairs space heater, but electricity to heat water year-round.  We recommended a heat-pump water heater to dehumidify the basement while heating water more efficiently. We also recommended replacing the failing air conditioner with a dual-fuel heat pump (that is, working in conjunction with the existing furnace) and fixing some ducting problems that were causing the upstairs to be insufficiently heated, requiring them to use the inefficient propane space heater.

1940 Ranch House, Osage City

Submitted by Ben Stallings on Tue, 04/04/2017 - 17:27

This house was performing extremely well, partly because the owner spent most of her time away.  Even so, we were able to recommend adding insulation to the walls (which were uninsulated) and ceiling (which had big gaps between the fiberglass batts) and sealing most of the air leaks, primarily at the whole-house fan.  We found a significant amount of moisture in the crawl space and recommended sealing the dirt floor with plastic as well as improving drainage away from the foundation.