Weatherization or weatherproofing of our homes and businesses goes hand in hand with the efficient use of energy. We can replace lights and air conditioners with more energy efficient types and incorporate a more energy efficient lifestyle. However, energy will continue to be wasted if our structures aren’t properly weatherized.
In the United States, buildings use one third of all energy consumed and two thirds of all electricity. Due to the high energy usage, the power plants providing the energy become a major source of the pollution that causes urban air quality problems and pollutants that contribute to climate change.
Typical weatherization procedures include:
- Sealing bypasses (cracks, gaps, holes), especially around doors, windows, pipes and wiring that penetrate the ceiling and floor, and other areas with high potential for heat loss, using caulk, foam sealant, weather-stripping, window film, door sweeps, electrical receptacle gaskets, and so on to reduce infiltration.
- Sealing recessed lighting fixtures(‘can lights’ or ‘high-hats’), which leak large amounts of air into unconditioned attic space. Verify manufacturer requirements – some fixtures require ventilation.
- Sealing air ducts, which can account for 20% of heat loss, using fiber-reinforced mastic(not duck/duct tape, which is not suitable for this purpose)
- Installing/replacing dampers in exhaust ducts, to prevent outside air from entering the house when the exhaust fan or clothes dryer is not in use.
- Protecting pipes from corrosion and freezing.
- Installing footing drains, foundation waterproofing membranes, interior perimeter drains, sump pump, gutters, downspout extensions, downward-sloping grading, French drains, swales, and other techniques to protect a building from both surface water and ground water.
- Providing proper ventilation to unconditioned spaces to protect a building from the effects of condensation.
- Installing roofing, building wrap, siding, flashing, insulated skylights or solar tubes and making sure they are in good condition on an existing building.
- Installing insulation in walls, floors, and ceilings, around ducts and pipes, around water heaters, and near the foundation and sill.
- Installing storm doors and storm windows.
- Replacing old drafty doors with tightly sealing, insulated foam-core doors.
- Replacing older windows with low-energy, insulated double-glazed windows.
Please visit our other blog post for an Energy, Utility, Weatherization Check List.
The phrase “whole-house weatherization” extends the traditional definition of weatherization to include installation of modern, energy-saving heating and cooling equipment, or repair of old, inefficient equipment (furnaces, boilers, water heaters, programmable thermostats, air conditioners, and so on). The “Whole-House” approach also looks at how the house performs as a system.