I really wish money grew on trees or that we could all print our own money. We can’t but I can tell you that insulation and weatherization are two of the best ways you can save money. In the south, heating and cooling is the number one energy expense one can have and weatherization, the sealing and plugging of air leaks, and insulation can reduce your costs by 25-40%.
So this week I am giving you a DIY Blueprint for Weatherizing Your Home.
1. In the attic
- Weather strip and insulate the attic access door (only if inside conditioned space). Use adhesive foam strips to seal it and stack foam board on top of the hatch or door for insulation.
- Seal attic penetrations with spray foam. Seal flues, holes where electrical wires travel, plumbing pipes, etc. You can use Great Stuff, which you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes, but make sure to wear old clothes. WARNING: I’ve never seen anyone get this stuff off clothing.
- Seal the top plates with spray foam. This is where sheetrock is butted up together at a wall. Ditto on the Great Stuff.
- Staple Radiant Barrier under the rafters or joists to reflect 97 percent of the radiant heat that strikes it…..only if installed properly.
- Insulate the attic with a minimum of R38 value. I recommend blown cellulose. It’s not as pretty as fiberglass but it is recycled newspaper and acts as an air sealant as well.
2. In the basement or crawlspace
- Seal and insulate around any accessible heating or A/C ducts. This applies to both the basement and attic. Use mastic to seal the ducts. You can buy at Home Depot or Lowes.
- Seal any holes that allow air to rise from the basement or crawlspace directly into the living space above. Check around plumbing, chimney, and electrical penetrations.
3. In living areas
- Install weather stripping on all exterior doors. Use the kind that uses screws or nails.
- Seal the around the microwave flue (if you have one). Check in the cabinet above the microwave. Use either white caulk for white cabinets or clear if another color.
- Patch any holes in the walls or ceilings.
- Use a flue balloon for the fireplace. Do this in the spring and summer seasons when you’re not using the fireplace.
- Use CFL or LED bulbs. They not only use less electricity, they put off less heat.
- Program your thermostat. If you’re not home during the day, raise the temperature during this time. I would consider a Nest thermostat.
- Seal your supply air vents. Take your vent covers off and seal between the duct boot and the floor, wall, or ceiling, depending on where your air vents are located. Just need a caulk gun and silicone.
Now if you’re a geek and want to get technical, you can know the EXACT air leakage is in cubic feet per minute. You just need to get an energy audit completed.