Want a comfortable, energy-efficient, and cost-saving home? Weatherizing your home is a must! Did you know air conditioning and heating account for about 50% of all electricity use in most American homes? A poorly sealed home leaks heated or cooled air to the outside making your home uncomfortable and raises your energy bills. For most, weatherizing means making relatively simple and inexpensive changes to seal and insulate your home. What’s more, the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act provides incentives and discounts to homeowners who take energy-efficiency initiatives. Some utility companies also provide grants or low to no-interest loans to help replace worn appliances. The Department of Energy’s Rebate Finder is a great place to start to identify energy-efficiency programs near you. Check out our tips below on how to weatherize your home and save on your utility bills!
- Get an energy analysis – to determine where energy losses are arising in your home and recommendations on best practices to minimize them. Many local utility companies will pay for the survey, and also maintain lists of approved contractors (whom you’ll want to use to ensure you’re eligible for any rebates offered by the utility company).
- Add insulation to attics and roofs. Attics are the largest source of energy losses in American homes (especially in older homes)! Insulation is inexpensive, but we’d recommend you hire a professional to install or audit what you have, as fiberglass dust is dangerous and it requires you use a respirator. It is recommended you add insulation to both the attic floor and roof. Need help finding an insulation contractor? Reach out and we can help!
- Unfaced insulation (the least expensive kind) is fine for the attic floor, faced insulation (slightly more expensive) is best for the roof.
- Even if your attic is already insulated, it may not be insulated enough – insulation is measured in terms of R-value, the higher the value, the better the insulation. Check to make sure your insulation matches the recommended R-value density.
- While in the attic, use spray-can foam to seal around any places where there is ingress into the attic from living spaces below (such as light fixtures, pull-down staircases, or the HVAC).
- Consider adding insulation to floors over unheated garages, crawlspaces, and cathedral ceilings.
- Add leak protection to your basement and crawl space. If you have mild to medium leaks, you’ll want to call your local contractor to discuss installing a vapor barrier, for more serious leaks, you may need to pair a sump pump or interior french drain with the vapor barrier.
- Add weather stripping to leaky doors and windows. This can be a DIY project, you can simply apply adhesive barrier tape around windows and door frames. Silicone tapes (vs. felt or foam) are slightly more expensive, but also more likely to last as they come with a 10-year warranty!
- Fix leaks in HVAC ducts. Most HVAC contractors provide sealing services. Don’t know who to call? Let us help!
- Install energy-efficient windows. In older homes with single-pane windows, installing low-E storm windows will provide energy savings at a fraction of the cost of replacing the single-panes with double-pane windows.
- Low-E storm windows cost about $100 for a typical-size window, but will save you at least as much. Energy savings can range from 10-30%!
- Adding external solar screens in hot sunny climates can help reduce the amount of solar energy your home absorbs by nearly 85%! While more expensive upfront (it costs about $2,000 to have a set fabricated for a typical single-family home), it’ll save you on your utility bill long-term.
- Replace incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs with LEDs. These will pay for themselves by lowering the utility bill.
If you are confused about where to start or need help finding a contractor, we are here to help, just reach out below!