The Low-Cost Way to Get Maximum Benefits
It is easy to feel the effects of a drafty door or window, but cold air can seep out of an air-conditioned home (or into a heated home) through several other surprising sources. The average un-weatherized home in the United States leaks air at a rate equivalent to a four-foot-square hole in the wall. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save up to 30 percent on their monthly energy bills just by properly weatherizing their home.
Weatherization is typically the first place for many home owners to concentrate for the biggest benefit with the least effort and expense.
If you're looking for ways to get started weatherizing your home, the list of items below is a good place to start.
The Department of Energy suggests R30 insulation for the attic, R-19 for floors, and R-15 for walls for the majority of the Mississippi Power service area. As a reference, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.
Windows and Doors
Even a well-insulated home can lose efficiency through air leaks, so locating and sealing those leaks can go a long way in reducing energy costs. Make sure all doors and windows are in proper working order. Inspect each door for cracks between the door and the wall. If you see light coming from the other side, the door needs to be weather-stripped. Broken windows are much harder to seal.
Window Insulation Kit
Seals windows airtight, eliminates condensation, cold drafts and heat loss. Install window film over windows that seem to be allowing cold air inside. Window film can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores for little money. It is clear plastic that is sealed around the window using a hair dryer to shrink the plastic.
Dryer vents and exhaust fans can whisk conditioned air out of a home and let outside air in. In homes with a kitchen exhaust fan, add a magnetic cover to prevent air from leaking in or out while the fan isn't in use. Bathroom exhaust fans should have an internal flapper damper to prevent air from coming in or out when the fan is off. Dryer vents typically have a flapper to reduce air leaks, but if the vent becomes clogged with lint, it can prevent the flapper from working properly. Check vents periodically to make sure they're free of lint, or install a dryer vent seal.
Place caulk or foam between the electrical box and drywall on switches and outlets located on exterior walls. The Department of Energy recommends installing foam gaskets behind outlet covers and switch plates for a good, airtight seal.
If you have an attic access located within your home, make sure the access door is insulated and seals tight, much like a refrigerator. Use weather-stripping and screen door latches for a snug seal.
When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue closed to prevent air from escaping.
Add-ons like recessed lighting, mail slots and wall air-conditioning units may add convenience and comfort to a home, but they also add the potential for air leaks. Caulk any gaps around mail slots, and seal around leaky light fixtures. If the insulation above a recessed light seems dirty, it's probably allowing air to escape. Remove window AC units before winter.
Child Safety Caps
Promote energy conservation and child safety by keeping drafts and your child's favorite toys away from unused electrical outlets.
Low - Flow Shower Head and Sink Aerator
A family of four each showering five minutes a day can use about 700 gallons of water per week. Water conserving showerheads and faucet aerators can cut hot water use in half, saving that family 14,000 gallons of water a year.
Toilet Tank Displacement Device
Control the amount of water used to flush your toilet, saving hundreds of gallons of water per year.
Insulated pipes keep the hot water that exists in the pipes warmer, meaning you won't have to wait as long for hot water - reducing waste.
Water Heater Jacket Cover
A water heater jacket can reduce up to 15% of the costs of heating water by preventing energy loss.
Silicone caulk helps fill cracks and gaps where air can enter or escape the home.