The autumn chill is around the corner and starting weatherization projects early on can ensure that homeowners minimize their electricity costs as the outsides cool. You can also keep stress to a minimum by breaking up this money-saving maintenance over a few months before winter. The energy savings available through weatherization are well worth the time and investment.
Weatherize in steps
One of the easiest ways to begin your weatherization process is through sealing air leaks, says Portland General Electric. Weather-stripping can be used to prevent heat from escaping under exterior doors, through window sills or into the garage. Likewise, a healthy application of caulking can be used to seal up joints and cracks around the home that allow air to travel from inside to outside, says the Piedmont Environmental Alliance.
Entry points and windows are not the only areas of the house that can be improved with a bit of caulk or weather stripping. Loose electrical outlets, wall-mounted air conditioners, dryer vents and switch plates can all create extra opportunities for warm air to escape from home interiors. A few tactical applications of caulk can help to address these blind spots in your weatherization system.
Insulation is another important step in any weatherization project, according to The Department of Energy. Thankfully, the effects of insulation are cumulative, so homeowners can easily add on to existing insulation. High insulation ratings are necessary in Northern regions of the country while minimal insulation is necessary in the South and Southwest. Homeowners insulating their attics should also look into improving ventilation as poor air flow is responsible for considerable condensation problems during winter months.
Finally, homeowners can cut winter heating costs by upgrading their HVAC appliances. Outdated installations like tank storage water heaters cause huge spikes in utilities spending during winter months. Large storage tanks are more likely to suffer corrosion-based leaks as well. Modern replacements heat water instantly to avoid wasting energy and can deliver significant savings over an aging tank.
Enjoy the savings
There are a long list of benefits that go along with weatherizing your home and starting early. The PEA notes that weatherization efforts on average lower energy consumption by 35 percent and reduce annual energy costs by 32 percent. Weatherization efforts also boast a strong ratio of savings versus investments. Every $1.00 spent protecting your home from airflow and insulation issues will return $1.80 to your bank account. Sealing air leaks can help reduce your summer cooling costs as well so savings will continue year round.
There are several benefits to weatherization beyond energy efficiency as well. A secure home prevents debris from entering living spaces, thereby improving the air quality. A closed ventilation system will help to evenly heat and cool your home.
Homeowners can also save energy by investing in green appliances and unplugging devices that eat up energy in standby mode, like DVR devices installed by local cable and Internet providers.