In most homes, there are enough cracks and gaps located throughout to have a negative impact on the way a home feels, as well as how much it costs to make the home feel just right. These cracks and gaps become a gateway for outside air to come into the house, and for inside air to be pulled outside. This unwanted exchange of air, also referred to as air leakage, is responsible for major energy loss and expenses, costing the average homeowner approximately $3,400 over the course of 5 years. These 5 weatherization supplies will allow you to gain control over the temperature in your home and reduce energy costs at the same time.
1. Spray Foam Insulation (Closed Cell)
Closed cell spray foam insulation is sprayed onto walls, ceilings, and floors in rooms that are the largest sources of air leaks: attics, basements, and garages). These rooms are typically not “lived in,” and have the least amount of proper insulation. As a result, these spaces serve not only as storage for gifts that can’t be returned, but they act as a gateway for air leaks.
Spray foam that is closed cell is the most efficient as it is both strong and dense. These characteristics make this form of insulation resistant to water absorption. The foam expands 30 times once applied at 1” thickness, and dries in less than a minute to seal the home from the effects extreme weather.
2. Door Sweeps for Exterior Doors and Weatherstripping
Approximately 11 percent of all energy loss in a home occurs through the door. Doors act as a source for air leaks whether they are opened or closed. One way to determine if the exterior doors in your home could use door weatherproofing is by looking at the door from the inside of the home during the day. If you can see light from outside coming through, this means there are cracks and gaps that are letting in not only light, but air as well.
Door sweeps for exterior doors install at the bottom of the door to limit air infiltration from this source. When the door is open, it sweeps lightly across the floor without damaging the surface, then seals air leaks at the bottom of the door once shut. Weatherstripping is used at the top and on the sides of the doors to seal these areas. Together, these weatherization products effectively seal the spaces where air leaks are occurring through exterior doors.
3. Attic Stair Insulation
In many homes, the attic is very hot during summer, and dramatically cold in winter. Because attic doors are oftentimes poorly constructed, and deteriorate over time, the effects of extreme weather are felt not only in the attic, but throughout the rest of the home. Attic stair weatherization products prevent drafts from coming into your living space from the attic. It installs in less than 10 minutes, and zips open or close, allowing for easy access into the attic.
4. Storm Window Kits
According to the United States Department of Energy, windows account for 10 percent to 25 percent of total home energy loss, which translates to 10 percent to 25 percent of the money spent on energy that is slipping right out of the window. If you can feel air coming into the home even when windows are closed, place a storm window kit over windows to eliminate drafts from this area.
Storm window kits contain a plastic covering that is placed over the face of the window, and plastic channels that connect to border the window. The kit is installed inside the home. The only tools required for installation are a pair of scissors and a blow dryer. Use the scissors to cut the plastic to the desired length, and the blow dryer is used to smooth out the plastic and eliminate any wrinkles. These weatherization supplies can stay over windows for the entire winter, sealing out any drafts that may be dying to come in.
5. Electrical Outlet Insulation
Yes, more facts and figures. This is the last one, I promise. Electrical outlets located on exterior walls make up as much as 5% of energy loss in the average home. Testing for these air leaks is simple: place your hand over the outlets. If you can feel air coming in, then you have an air leak.
Electrical outlet insulation is definitely the easiest to install among these weatherization products. Remove the outlet plate, place the foam gasket behind it, and screw the wall plate back over the outlet. It’s just that simple. Some electrical outlet insulation is available with the plate already attached, eliminating one of three steps.
There is a variety of weatherization supplies used in a variety of places throughout a home. Essentially, the all accomplish the same goal: limiting the amount of air that is coming in and leaving the home. There is nothing wrong with letting fresh air in from time to time, just keep in mind that the less control you have over when and where this fresh air is coming from, the more money that will eventually be spent on keeping the home comfortable.