From air sealing to adding insulation and improving ventilation, weatherizing your home is a smart way to save money and make your home more energy efficient. Learn tips for tackling trouble spots and keeping your home comfortable and efficient inside and out – regardless of what Mother Nature may bring.
Tips for weatherizing your home
If your windows allow cold air to leak into your home, the most cost-effective measure is to seal the entire window with a layer of plastic for the winter. New heat-shrinking films are airtight and easy to see through.
Seal up the largest air leaks in your home – the ones that whistle on a windy day or feel drafty. Check for leaks around windows, doors, and at locations where utilities enter the home (e.g., pipes, cables, telephone wires, etc.) and seal these with caulking or foam insulation products.
Clear away weeds and debris from outdoor air conditioning and heat pump units. This allows air to circulate freely around your outside unit, lowering your bills and helping reduce service calls.
An air conditioner operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less energy than the same unit operating in the sun. Planting a tree to shade the unit can help, as long as airflow is not blocked.
Plant a leaf-bearing tree on the south, east and west sides of your home to reduce heat build up in your attic and provide shade for your windows and walls.
If your home is situated in a large open area, use evergreens on the north and west sides of your home to create effective windbreaks.
Heating and cooling account for the greatest portion of energy costs for the average home. Insulation is your most effective means of reducing energy usage to keep your home comfortable both in winter and summer.
Install the proper amount of insulation in exterior walls, roofs or ceilings, and floors above cold spaces. If you do not currently have insulation in one of these areas, installing insulation will cut your energy bills dramatically.
Crushed insulation is not a good insulator. Do not compress insulation on the attic floor by adding a layer of wood, storing boxes on it or walking across it frequently.
Know your Rs. The R-value is the standardized measure to rate the relative effectiveness of insulation materials. Different materials will have varying R-values per inch. R-values of R-38 for attic insulation and R-19 for walls are considered cost effective for homes in the Midwest.
View frequently asked questions about home weatherization