Filling the Nooks and Crannies: Weatherizing a Home

September 22nd, 2010 | Posted by tjones in Environment | Fuel Efficiency | Green Homes | Living Green

In August, vice-president Biden announced that 200,000 homes had been weatherized under the Recovery Act.  It’s been estimated by the Department of Energy that weatherizing a home can save nearly $350 annually (pdf, 1.1mb) on heating and cooling, or nearly a 32% reduction in heating costs alone.  Indeed, since the establishment of the Weatherization Assistance Program in 1972, which helps low-income peoples insulate their homes, the DoE estimates that over 6.2 million homes have been weatherized, and the current pace of weatherizing homes will save the U.S. 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, the equivalent of taking 107,000 cars off the road.

So, weatherizing a home presents significant opportunities to save energy.  While earlier this week I wrote on the importance of insulating your home, weatherizing is just as important and goes beyond insulating.  Weatherizing involves filling in the cracks of a home where outside air can leak in – and energy and money leak out.

A few green products are on the market to help individuals weatherize their homes.  Energy Star notes that the best way to insulate the home is through sealing and caulking all cracks and drafts.

The diagram above demonstrates some of the most common places where air leaks into and out of a home.  Fortunately there are any of number of ways to seal these leaks, independent of the major investment of insulating a home.

1. Piping insulation, shown above, keeps pipes from freezing, sweating, and losing heat.

2. Indoor window insulating kits seal windows airtight.

3. Switch and outlet gaskets prevent drafts through places we might not consider particularly drafty, but are a source of energy loss.

4. Water heater insulation jackets make home water heaters more efficient.  Handheld adhesive foam prevents leaks around doors and windows.

5. Bonded Logic Ultratouch Mini Rolls help to seal known gaps in insulation, reducing noise and energy loss.

6. Air conditioner weatherseals seal the gaps around air conditioners and in windows; air conditioner covers prevent winter air from entering through a window unit air conditioner.

For these and other weatherizing green products, you can visit Green Depot here.

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