The typical home is said to have enough air leaks that’s equivalent to having a window open year-round. If you’re like the typical homeowner, that means you’re basically wasting 20% or more of the energy you pay to heat and cool your home. Needless to say, weatherizing your home can add tremendous energy and cost savings.
In this first of three series of articles regarding weatherizing your home, we will dive in a little deeper and discuss why you need it, where to look for air leaks, and how to figure out if you need it.
It Goes Beyond the Savings
Yes, by weatherizing your home you will feel more comfortable during the hottest and coldest of months, and save energy and money in the process. However, weatherizing goes further, beyond the idea of protecting the envelop of the house to prevent loss of energy from the unwanted exchange of inside and outside air.
Here’s what you may not know: Preventing the unwanted circulation or infiltration of air also reduces humidity, dust and pollen; eliminates pests and noise; and even prevents the growth and spread of mold that may eventually compromise the integrity of a building support structure. In essence, you can say it’s an investment in your health and your home.
|Weatherization Method||Example of Benefits||Total Effects|
|Sealing||Reduces humidity, dust and pollen||Saves energy and money|
|Insulating||Eliminates pests and noise|
|Caulking||Prevent growth and spread of mold|
Where to Look for It
Before you know what to look for, you need to know where to look. You may already know gaps and cracks in window and door frames are one of the biggest culprits of drafts, but the infiltration actually occurs throughout the house in and around these common areas:
|Air Leaks from the Outside||Air Leaks from the Inside||Other Problem Areas|
How to Look for It
The easiest way to get started is to call your local utility company to ask if they offer either a home audit / inspection rebate program (in exchange for the job of weatherizing your home) and/or cover a percentage of the cost of weatherization. Some states, such as Georgia, even have weatherization assistance programs where qualifying families can receive free home inspections and weatherization installations.
If you refer to or have to do it yourself, have no fear, there are simple expensive gadget-free tests you can conduct to see what’s going on in your home. Below is a summary of the self-test methods as well as the other options you have:
|Who||What||Where / How||When|
|Utility Companies||Home Audit Rebate||Some utility companies provide free or discounted home audit in exchange for the job of weatherizing your home||N/A|
|Weatherization Discounts||Some utility companies provide discounts on certain weatherization materials and labor||N/A|
|State or Local Gov’t Agencies||Weatherization Assistance Programs||Some states like Georgia have weatherization assistance for qualifying families||N/A|
|Do It Yourself||Incense Test||
||Cool, windy day|
|Ray of Light Test||
Next article will cover:
- What to do
- Comparisons of weatherization products
- Payback periods and more