There’s more to household energy costs than the price of electricity or gas. How much energy we waste in our homes contributes to the total cost, so tightening up means more money in our pockets.
Weatherstripping is a fine example of saving money by spending a little more in the first place. Weatherstripping is the material around doors, windows and other openings in a home that keeps inside air inside and keeps the elements out. The U.S. Department of Energy points out that proper weatherstripping on an older house can save more 20% on heating and cooling bills!
In some older homes, a simple visual inspection will show where weatherstripping is needed. For best results, though, homeowners should hire a technician to conduct a blower test, where air is sucked out of a home to help identify leaky areas.
It is critical to consider the tradeoffs of each type of weatherstripping for a particular job. Felt strips, for example, are cheap and easy to install. But they also wear out quickly and are not particularly effective in the first place. Interlocking metal channels are perhaps the best seal possible around the edge of a door, but they are very expensive and really cannot be installed by a nonprofessional. Sponge rubber tubes that self stick along the edges of a door are somewhere in the middle, as they are fairly costly and tricky to install, but they work well and can be done by the weekend warrior.
Ventilation is another factor to consider when dramatically improving your home’s weatherstripping. Many older homes rely on the natural flow of air through cracks in the wall to keep the indoor air fresh. Tightly-sealed homes do not have that luxury, so they must include ventilation systems that pump fresh air in and control moisture. The best ventilation system balance air coming in and air going out, while also recovering heat in the exhaust air so that it is not wasted.
Relying on renewable energy is much easier in an efficient home. Once you get your energy usage under control, it is very affordable to switch to 100% renewable. Greenwave Energy can help you offset your usage with Renewable Energy Credits and soon we will offer home-based solar systems, as well!