Weatherize your Home
Air Sealing Air leaks are among the greatest sources of energy loss in a home. One of the quickest
energy- and money-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside.
By sealing uncontrolled air leaks, you can save 10%–20% on your heating and cooling bills. Following an energy audit, you may have a number of recommended energy saving projects you are considering. Prioritize weatherization projects to quickly improve the efficiency and comfort of your home.
To identify air leaks, check around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, lighting and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets. Look for gaps, improperly applied caulk and weatherstripping, and doors and windows that don’t close tightly.
On a windy day, carefully hold a lit incense stick or a smoke pen next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other places where air may leak. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak.
After you identify all air leaks, do the following:
• Weatherstrip doors and windows.
• Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
• Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
• Use foam sealant on larger gaps around window trims, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
• Check for open fireplace dampers and make sure they properly close.
• Consider an inflatable chimney balloon to seal your fireplace flue when not in use. Fireplace flues are made from metal, and repeated heating and cooling can cause the metal to warp or break over time, creating a channel for air loss. Inflatable chimney balloons are made from durable plastic and can be removed easily and reused hundreds of times. If you forget to remove the balloon before making a fire, the balloon will automatically deflate within seconds of coming into contact with heat.
• Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheet rock and furnace cement caulk.
• Install an insulated box to seal leaky attic stairs.
After you complete air sealing, consider whether you need to add insulation. Insulation is essential for reducing heat flow through a home’s building envelope (the parts of the home that separate the interior from the outside elements, including the walls, roof, and foundation).
The greater the difference between the indoor and the outdoor temperatures, the more energy it will take to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. Adding insulation between the indoors and the outdoors reduces that energy demand, improves the comfort of your home, and saves you money.
An insulation’s R-value is a measure of its resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. R-value is dependent on the type of insulation and the thickness.
When purchasing insulation, refer to the insulation packaging or the paper backing of rolled insulation to find the R-value.
Consult the ENERGY STAR recommended insulation levels for retrofitting existing wood-framed buildings to determine how much insulation you should consider adding to your home. For
A home energy professional can help you evaluate options for your specific home.
Consider factors such as your climate, home design, and budget when selecting insulation for your home.