It’s that time of year to weatherize your home. If you haven’t done it already, I would do it now. Ideally you should have done this BEFORE the winter started, but it’s never too late to start saving money!
If you are wondering what I mean by “weatherize,” then let me explain. The official definition from Wikipedia is “the practice of protecting a building and its interior from the elements, particularly from sunlight, precipitation, and wind, and of modifying a building to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency.” Basically, you want to plug and seal any air leaks. Doing this can save you 25 to 40% on your electric bills. Most houses that are not weatherized have an average of a four-foot square hole in the wall. Not only are you saving money, but you will be helping the environment. We all love to do that!
Tidbit: The image below shows you how much energy we use in our home. Heating accounts for the biggest portion of our utility bills. Wouldn’t it be nice to make that slice a little smaller?
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, AEO2014 Early Release Overview
There are a couple of ways you can get started. One way is to hire a company to come to your home to do an energy audit. Just type “energy audit Murphy TX” in Google and some options will pop up. Another way is to D-I-Y. Here are some places to look and suggestions for improvement from the book Homemade Money.
- Weatherstrip and insulate the attic access door.
- Seal around the outside of the chimney.
- Seal around plumbing vents, both in the attic floor and in the roof and check roof flashings (where the plumbing vent pipes pass through the roof) for signs of water leakage.
- Stuff fiberglass insulation around electrical wire penetrations at the top of interior walls and where wires enter ceiling fixtures. (But not around recessed light fixtures unless the fixtures are rated IC [for insulation contact]). Fluorescent fixtures usually are safe to insulate around; they don’t produce a lot of waste heat. Incandescent fixtures should be upgraded to compact fluorescent bulbs).
- Staple Radiant Barrier under the rafters or joists to reflect 97 percent of the radiant heat that strikes it.
- Seal all other holes between the heated space and the attic.
Windows and Doors
- Replace broken glass and re-putty loose panes.
- Caulk on the inside around window and door trim, sealing where the frame meets the wall and all other window woodwork joints.
- Weatherstrip exterior doors, including those to garages and porches.
- For windows that will be opened, use weatherstripping or temporary flexible rope caulk.
- Install foam-rubber gaskets behind electrical outlet and switch trim plates on exterior walls.
- Use paintable or colored caulk around bath and kitchen cabinets on exterior walls.
- Caulk any cracks where the floor meets exterior walls. Such cracks are often hidden behind the edge of the carpet.
- Have a fireplace? If you don’t use it, plug the flue with an inflatable plug, or install a rigid insulation plug. If you do use it, make sure the damper closes tightly when a fire isn’t burning.
- Caulk around all penetrations where electrical, telephone, cable, gas, dryer vents, and water lines enter the house. You may want to stuff some fiberglass insulation in the larger gaps first.
- Caulk around all sides of window and door frames to keep out the rain and reduce air infiltration.
- Check your dryer exhaust vent hood. If it’s missing the flapper, or it doesn’t close by itself, replace it with a tight-fitting model.
- Caulk cracks in overhangs of cantilevered bays and chimney chases.
I hope this helps. I have attached two websites below that have more detailed information. And don’t forget that if you are thinking about buying or selling your home, I can help you! Call or email anytime!