A vaulted ceiling in the bedroom of a home

While vaulted ceilings are wonderful at enhancing your living space’s natural lighting, giving a feeling of ample space and aesthetic appeal, they waste a lot of energy.

You may spend a lot more to cool or heat your home if you do not optimize these ceilings to be energy efficient.

The extra air space provided by vaulted ceilings needs more heating or cooling, but there are some handy ways to reduce energy consumption. 

How To Make Vaulted Ceilings Energy-Efficient

Here’s how to make vaulted ceilings energy efficient:

  1. Improve insulation.
  2. Install ceiling fans.
  3. Replace your HVAC system.
  4. Improve ventilation and natural lighting.
  5. Buy a space heater.
  6. Close unused ventilation.
  7. Change light bulbs.
  8. Use an automated thermostat.
  9. Install thermal mass for air conditioning.
  10. Take advantage of tax credits and incentives. 

Now that you’re familiar with the various energy efficiency techniques for vaulted ceilings, let’s investigate each more in-depth to ensure you are saving more energy, the environment, and utility bills.

1.) Improve Insulation

Proper insulation on any openings in your vaulted ceiling is one of the most practical approaches to conserving energy. 

Whether you have skylights, slight gaps in the ceiling joints or a crumbly old chimney, any weak spots between your vaulted ceiling and the exterior of your home will negate the effects of your insulation. 

You can save up to 15% of your total utility bill costs by sealing spaces in the ceiling.

Your HVAC system will have to work harder to regulate air conditions if a considerable amount of cold or hot air leaks through your ceiling. During a home energy audit, you can discover these leaks and provide remedies to the problematic areas.

It’s important to insulate any openings in your home that may account for total energy lost, including windows, doors, walls, footing, and basements. Batt insulation, also called blanket insulation, is the most frequent type of vaulted ceiling insulation since it’s cost-effective. 

A worker lifts a batt of rockwool insulation off a stack as he readies it to be applied to a vaulted ceiling
Rockwool is one insulation type that commonly comes in batts.

Here are the significant areas to remember to seal when insulating your vaulted ceiling:

  • Unfinished attic spaces
  • Band joists
  • Roof cavity
  • Rafters

It’s also worth noting that insulating the cavity between the board and roof sheathing with a vapor-permeable material may lead to vapor condensation, encouraging mold, and undermining your vaulted ceiling’s structural integrity.

2.) Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can aid in the distribution of heated or cooled air from HVAC units more efficiently in homes with vaulted ceilings. 

The fan’s blades rotate in the cold seasons to dissipate heat from the vaulted ceilings and drive it downward. In summer, use the fan in the opposite (anti-clockwise) direction to draw cool air upward, essentially cooling the room. Many high ceiling fans have a tiny sliding button on the side to switch the fan’s rotation direction.

Ceiling fans, when utilized appropriately, can help keep rooms with cathedral vaulted ceilings cool in summer. They increase air circulation, preventing hot and cold areas from forming. Install them in the house’s warmest areas, such as near west-facing windows, for best results.

A ceiling fan circulating under a vaulted ceiling.

Ceiling fans perform best when installed eight to nine feet (2.4-2.74 meters) above the floor. If your vaulted ceiling is too high, use an extension rod on the fan’s shaft to extend its reach.

3.) Replace Your HVAC System

You may adequately insulate your vaulted ceiling, but notice the energy costs are still relatively high. Replacing your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system may be your way out because you may not be using the correct HVAC specification for your region.

For instance, homes in the colder regions use special Energy Star-rated HVACs as they require more energy to heat rooms than those in warmer areas. Upgrading your equipment will reduce the required heating energy and related costs.

Upgrades to the ventilation can also contribute to lower energy costs. Air conditioning, however, does not significantly affect the total energy consumed in an HVAC. Additionally, proper maintenance and servicing of your system can lower costs by up to 20%.

4.) Improve Ventilation and Natural Lighting

Large window panels are often an ideal match for vaulted ceilings. They allow natural lighting and optimize ventilation to control moisture flow in your home.

Ventilation is an affordable and energy-efficient method to cool your home by preventing heat buildup in hot months. Natural, whole-house, or spot ventilation are the best types of ventilation. 

When combined with fans, these ventilation options provide the most cost-effective conditioning. Additionally, the natural lighting through the windows reduces the need for electricity during the day to light up dark spots.

A homeowner peers off his deck through his eco-friendly windows

The large windows, unfortunately, may let in more cold during winter. However, you can prevent this by using triple-pane windows and insulated frames.

These windows have three glass panels separated by a spacer. Then, the spaces between the panes are in-filled with inert gas, such as argon, to act as an insulator. 

These windows offer superior insulation, but it’s also best to use curtains or shades in warmer months. If you find that your home gets hotter in summer, use the shades to keep out some of that warm sunlight and avoid turning your home into a greenhouse

5.) Buy a Space Heater

Space heaters or warmers can be handy as a supplement to another heat source. Space warmers have the advantages of requiring little storage space, no installation, and being energy and cost-efficient.

Choose the most suitable space heater for a large room based on the dimensions and conditions of the space you want to heat. Heaters typically have heat capacities ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 Btu per hour and are powered by electricity, propane, natural gas, or kerosene.

However, your space heaters may overheat. Thus you should not use them as the only heat source in a room. HVAC professionals advise using them just for short periods and in small spaces.

For an energy-efficient, silent space heater with an adjustable thermostat, check out this GiveBest ceramic space heater.

6.) Close Unused Ventilation

Spaces near the vaulted ceiling will naturally be warmer than spaces closer to the floor because the heated air is less dense and rises.

If your home’s ventilation is poor and there are rooms you don’t often use, be sure to partially block the ventilation in those rooms to allow heat transfer to areas with completely open vents. In a space with high ceilings, this will increase the force of the heat release.

It’s a frequent myth that you should completely cover some vents to divert heat to the open ones. Unfortunately, you may damage your HVAC system because of the high-pressure buildup in particular regions.

If you want to deflect heat, it’s safer to close some vents partially.

7.) Change Light Bulbs

Traditional fluorescent lamps consume more energy and require more frequent replacement than greener alternatives. 

Energy-saving bulbs like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) consume 25-80 percent less electricity and last up to 25 times longer than conventional bulbs.

An energy-efficient LED light bulb is screwed into a hanging socket

Energy-saving bulbs are more expensive to purchase, but they cost less in the long run due to their efficient energy use and longer lifespan. That’s especially true when you need to light an ample space with vaulted ceilings. 

The SYLVANIA LED A19 Light Bulb is a top-reviewed LED bulb that saves up to seven times more energy, while these PHILIPS LEDs are a CFL option that offers as much light as a 100W incandescent bulb.

8.) Use an Automated Thermostat

When you are asleep, or there’s no one at home, spending money to keep your rooms with vaulted ceilings up to temperature is a waste of money.

So, it is wise to use a programmable thermostat to automatically turn off or lower heating and cooling. 

You can eliminate unnecessary energy consumption from heating and cooling by installing a programmable thermostat without changing your HVAC system or sacrificing comfort.

There are various programmable thermostats that are easy to use. Some even come with smart device applications for remote control. 

A homeowner adjusts the settings on their smart thermostat from their smartphone.

Improvements in programmable thermostats may include warnings for air filter replacement or HVAC system faults. These indications can bolster the efficiency of your heating and cooling appliance.

9.) Install Thermal Mass for Air Conditioning

You can use heavy and dense construction materials like reinforced concrete floors or masonry walls to regulate the warmth and coolness of the air in your home.

Thermal mass, when used correctly, can help keep your home at a pleasant temperature all year. During the day, it absorbs heat from the sun and radiates it out as the temperature decreases in the evening.

The simplest form of thermal mass prevalent in most homes is concrete slab floors. However, other flooring materials such as wood absorb heat fast and release it even quicker.

During summer, you should shield the thermal mass from direct sunlight to prevent excessive heating of your space.

Insulation, glazing, and thermal mass interact sophisticatedly and change with the seasons and weather.

Thus, you should consult a solar design specialist, such as a designer, architect, or building scientist who specializes in passive solar design, to determine the optimal solution for your needs.

10.) Take Advantage of Tax Credits and Incentives

Did you know that you are eligible for a $500 or 10% tax credit for qualified energy efficiency improvements? In addition, some states and companies will help you cover the costs of making your home more sustainable. 

So, if you don’t think you can afford some of these energy-efficient improvements for your vaulted ceilings, think again. There may be grants or incentives available for you to make your home more cost and energy-efficient. 

Conclusion

Here are the most effective methods to consider for making your vaulted ceilings more energy-efficient:

  • Insulate the ceiling and any openings to reduce heat loss.
  • Ceiling fans work hand in hand with HVACs to optimize energy efficiency.
  • Replace your HVAC with a better ENERGY STAR-rated system.
  • Consider energy-saving appliances like LED Bulbs.
  • Space heaters will help reduce HVAC energy consumption.

Sources

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