With all of the talk about stimulus funding on the news, you may have heard the word “weatherization” thrown around a few times.
Not everyone is aware of what this term refers to and why the government is so eager to help us get it. Weatherization is another key component of going green. It pertains to properly insulating the home, allowing for energy savings throughout the house. Hopefully your home does not look like this photo!
If you place your hand to the window during winter, oftentimes you can feel cold air entering the home. In the same way, during summer cool air is leaving. The air leaks are causing the temperature of the home to constantly change, causing you to constantly change the settings on the thermostat. According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), heating and cooling costs account for 40% of a home’s energy use, with air conditioning in summer making up more than 16% of the yearly energy costs in a home.
Applying caulk, weatherstripping, and spray foam around windows, doors, and all areas of the home where air could be leaking, allows for more control over the home’s temperature, thus lowering the energy bill. When done properly, weatherizing can cut environmental emissions from 20% to as much as 50%.
Unfortunately, air enters and exits the house through mediums besides doors and windows. There are cracks and crevices throughout the house that serve as passages for this air. This unwanted air explains why the attic and basement spaces are so miserable to enter during extreme weather months. These larger areas are the best places to start when weatherizing the home.
Weatherizing the basement or attic can be costly. If you cannot take on these rooms just yet, there are other areas of the house to tackle. For example, for as little as $0.10 you can find an electrical outlet and switch sealers to block air from entering and exiting the outlets. The amount of work required, as well as the amount of money you can save, depends largely on the climate you live in.
For information on contacting your local weatherization agency and applying for assistance, visit the US Department of Energy’s website.