When it comes to home improvement and energy efficiency projects, often the garage is the most overlooked part of the house. It does not matter if your garage is used for storage, as a car parking or just an extra room in your house, it is a part of your home which can affect the usage of energy and your monthly bills. Regardless of whether the garage is connected to your house, modifications can be made to make it more enjoyable, energy efficient and a safer place.
Following are some tips to make your garage more energy efficient and be more responsible towards the environment, and also reduce your energy expenses.
Garages that are attached with your home have shared walls. If there is no insulation in your garage, the circulation of cold and hot air back and forth from the garage into your home through the shared walls will make it difficult to control the inside temperature of the house and this the reason for constant adjustment of the thermostat.
If the thermal energy easily gets in through the walls into your home, then it is not difficult for any fumes and contaminants to get in and reduce the quality of air in your house. When the car is turned on in your garage, carbon monoxide can leak into your home. In order to prevent thermal energy seepage and any accidental carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning, make sure that the garage walls are properly insulated.
To make your garage more energy efficiency, insulation should be done properly. There are many different varieties of insulation materials for you to choose from. According to the garage’s structure and your requirements, some of the insulations methods may be more desirable than others. Careful attention must be paid to the surrounding walls and the floors where they are connected. Plug sockets and light switches should also be properly insulated because even though these are incredibly small compared to the rest of the garage, a big amount of thermal energy can escape through them.
- Seals and Thresholds
From your garage to your home, the quickest way for hot and cold air to seep through is the connecting door and the actual garage door. It is important to make sure the connecting door and garage door are properly sealed with weather stripping or a threshold barrier to keep the elements out.
You may want to use a thermal energy leak detection kit as it hard to see where there are hole or gaps in your whether stripping and threshold. To see where the weather stripping and threshold is not intact, you can use the smoke machine and take appropriate actions to seal the deficiencies.
Even if you have seals and thresholds in place, they do breakdown with time and need to be replaced periodically. To ensure that they are in good condition, regular inspection is necessary. If it is needed, replace them to keep the energy from escaping in and out of your garage.
- Concrete Floors
Commonly the garage floors are made of cement and the constant change in temperature can cause them to crack. The size of the crack does not matter as they drastically diminish your ability to control the temperature in the area.
Moreover, after the exposure of these cracks to the moisture of rain and snow, they expand under the surface and prevent the garage door to close properly. The safety of the garage floor is also affected by these cracks. Instead of redoing the whole garage floor, you can choose to seal the cracks with concrete caulk.
Placing carpets, mats and rugs to your garage can help in stopping the temperature and also add an aesthetic appeal to the area. This solution is optimal for those who use their garage as another room instead of for their vehicles or storage space.
- Solar panels
Using portable heater or air conditioner for heating or cooling your garage can quickly add up into your monthly bill. Installing solar panels to the garage is an excellent way to minimise the usage of energy and costs of your home. Gather and store energy from the sun to be converted into electricity for the garage with the help of solar panels. They can also be used to passively heat and light your garage when the weather is chilly outside. On the occasions when it is required to bring down the temperature of the garage, simply cover your solar panels to keep the heat from the sun out.
Solar panels may prove to be costly as an investment in the beginning but the money they save will overshadow the money spent on purchasing and installing them.
- Storage and organization
You only have to worry about chaos in an unorganized garage. An absence of organisation in the garage will only attract unwelcome pests. Pests will eat and destroy the insulation layers and structure of your garage and even your home. Having clutter around is an excellent opportunity for these pests to move in, breed and gain further access to your home.
Other than that, the derangement can make it difficult for you to keep the temperature according to your comfort zone, thus affecting the overall energy efficiency of the garage. Good investment in storage solutions or add a shed to accommodate your space requirement without sacrificing your garage energy efficiency, safety and comfort.
- LED lights
LED lighting is a great option to conserve energy and improve efficiency. Switching to LED lights all over the house is highly recommended. LED light bulbs will assist in minimising overall carbon footprint of your home. The energy requirement of these lights to run is very low and they last longer than regular CFL light bulbs. The carbon emission of LEDs is up to 10 times lower than incandescent bulbs.
If you leave the lights of the garage on habitually, then invest in a light timer that can be programmed to turn off the lights to save even more money. It is advisable to train yourself to turn off the lights when you leave the room.
- Older appliances
If you have any appliances from older model such as extra refrigerator or a freezer in your garage, it is advisable to get rid of it. Often, it costs more to run an old appliance then to invest into a new one. If replacing your old appliance is not possible then better unplug it when not in use to save money and energy.
If there are any windows in your garage, make sure to replace them with energy efficient ones or storm proof windows to prevent air and moisture from getting inside. If there is any need, then replace all the caulking and weather stripping on the window panes to prevent thermal energy loss.
To increase the energy efficiency of your garage, there are many things that you can do. By adopting any one of the tips mentioned above, you are contributing your efforts in reducing your carbon footprints on our fragile blue planet. For the immediate effect, you will notice a drop in the energy bills. Boosting your garage energy efficiency will only benefit you, after all.