How Energy Efficient Are Two-Story Homes?

A chalkboard drawing of a house with energy efficiency ratings next to it.

When purchasing a new home, many buyers investigate the potential utility costs that come with the properties they are considering. The monthly costs for utilities should play a large role when home buyers are deciding on whether to buy a one-story or a two-story property.

There are a number of factors that can influence the energy efficiency of a home. These factors include the size, age, insulation levels, and HVAC units of the property being considered. Generally speaking, one-story homes tend to have lower energy costs than two-story homes. The HVAC systems in a two-story home have to work harder in order to heat and cool the air on both levels. Since heat rises, in the summer months the air conditioning unit must work harder to cool the air on the second floor. In the winter months, the heat from the furnace will also rise to the second level, leading to uneven temperatures throughout the house. Due to these types of problems, many home owners of two-story houses install a second HVAC unit for the second level. This additional unit uses more energy and costs more to operate. If you have your eye on a two-story home are you currently live in one, there are several tips you can follow to make it more energy efficient and reduce your monthly utility bills.

Schedule Regular Maintenance HVAC Appointments

An air conditioner tech inspecting the unit.

HVAC units that have any problems, large or small, will work harder in order to heat or cool the air in a home. Units that are overworked will use more energy and this will cost you money. Not only is there potential for wasted energy and money, but units that are overworked due to small problems can easily develop bigger problems that require large repair jobs to solve. Have a reliable service technician check your system each season to clean any dirt and debris from the unit and the duct work and to ensure there are no smaller problems that are going unnoticed.

Seal Your Windows

Windows are one of the main spots in a home where heat can be transferred. This means hot air can get in during the summer months, and hot air can get out during the winter. You will be able to increase energy efficiency in your two-story home and reduce your utility costs by ensuring that your windows are sealed properly.

Get Your Insulation Checked

Measuring pink insulation with a ruler.

The insulation in your home is what keeps the outdoor air from getting inside. Blocking the exterior air from getting into your home will lower your heating and cooling requirements. Insulation is measured in R-values, which represent the capacity of the insulation to resist the transfer of heat. Products with higher R-values allow less heat to get through them. Have a reliable technician check your insulation levels between the floors, in the walls, in the attic and basements, and around the ductwork to be sure you have the amount you need.

Put a Fan in the Attic

Installing an attic fan will make it possible to circulate warm air out of the house and keep the second story cooler. This is particularly important during the summer when the second story can get very uncomfortable due to any warm air rising from the first floor.

Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

A lady holding light bulbs.

Remove incandescent bulbs from your light fixtures. These bulbs not only give off light, but heat as well. It takes energy to generate the heat they create, so by replacing your bulbs with energy-efficient ones you will be able to reduce wasted energy, increase energy efficiency, and save on utility bills.

Turn off the Lights When Leaving a Room

It may seem like common sense, but you would be amazed at how much energy and money is wasted on lighting empty rooms. If you have a concern with spaces that become too dark when the lights are turned off, consider using night lights with LED bulbs.