Weatherization Basics for Homeowners

When winter weather rolls around, you’ll probably find yourself cranking up the thermostat in order to stay comfortable in your home. But you might notice cold drafts or rooms that don’t seem to warm up, not to mention monthly utility bills that go through the roof. This is a common issue for homeowners living in regions with harsh winter weather conditions. That said, there are plenty of ways to weatherize your structure in order to increase energy efficiency, improve the comfort level of your home interior, and lower your bills in the process. Here are a few basics that will help you to enjoy cozy living spaces throughout the winter without paying an arm and a leg for the privilege.

The best place to begin is with a home energy audit, especially if you’ve never had one before. You may be able to hire an auditor through your power provider, or if not, the company can likely recommend an independent third party for the job. From there a professional technician will come to inspect your home and perform targeted tests, after which you will receive a comprehensive report detailing areas in your structure where energy waste is occurring. Unfortunately, your home energy auditor is not qualified to fix the problems he/she finds, but your report may include recommendations on how to go about weatherizing your home to increase energy efficiency. At the very least, you’ll know where your bought air is getting out and cold air is creeping in.

When it comes to addressing issues with energy efficiency and weatherization, one of the easiest fixes is weather stripping. You can find it at very little expense at your local hardware store and install it around windows and doors yourself to seal up common areas of leakage. But you may also want to deal with insulation issues. You should start with windows, where cold air is prone to entering your home, by installing storm windows in place of your summer screens.

You can also check out the exposed insulation in your attic and your basement. Both batting and fill can settle and deteriorate over time, so it’s important to check them periodically to make sure these areas are adequately insulated. If not, it’s fairly simple to add more insulation or even upgrade to superior products. This is especially important in the attic since hot air rises and can escape through a poorly insulated attic space.

Once you’ve finished sealing duct leaks, door jambs, and so on, you can continue to conserve energy by properly setting your programmable thermostat. According to the Department of Energy, you should set your thermostat no higher than 68 Degrees F when you’re at home. But when you’re away for the day, say at work, you should program your thermostat to automatically lower by 10-15 degrees. This could save you as much as 15% on your energy bill (based on an 8-hour reduction daily). Although programming your thermostat doesn’t technically qualify as weatherization, it can help you to optimize any weatherizing steps you take, conserving energy and lowering your bills along the way.

Related posts:

  1. Why Home Weatherization Is Essential for Winter and Summer Months
  2. How Winterizing Your Home Can Save You Energy Dollars
  3. Air Sealing and Insulation Upgrades for Homeowners
  4. How Sealing and Insulation Can Save You Energy Dollars at Home
  5. Heat Wave Survival Basics for Homeowners
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