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GREENTIPS - Weatherizing Pays Dividends All Year (11/05) November 15, 2005 6:27 PM

Weatherizing Pays Dividends All Year
November 2005
Read this issue of Greentips online

In last month’s issue of Greentips we described how an energy audit can help determine where your home is losing energy. Most people only think of addressing these problems when winter is approaching, but weatherizing your home is a good way to save money and energy all year long. In fact, the efficiency gained by weatherizing can offset the up-front cost of weatherizing materials in just one year.

The two primary routes by which heat escapes your home in winter—and enters during the summer—are openings in and around walls, windows, and doors, and poorly insulated surfaces.

Air Leaks

Since even small cracks and openings in walls can have the same effect on your home's energy efficiency as leaving a window open, sealing every opening is critical. It’s also easy and inexpensive.

  • Weather-strip or caulk drafty window and door frames. Don’t forget those in the basement or attic.
  • Caulk around openings where any of the following enter or exit your home: radiator pipes, water spigots, electrical and cable outlets, air conditioner hoses, dryer vents, and fuel and water pipes.
  • Stop under-door drafts by attaching a vinyl sweep to the bottom of doors, or simply block these openings with a “door snake” (a long cloth tube filled with sand) or rolled-up towel.
  • Be sure your fireplace is fitted with tight-sealing glass doors, and keep the doors and the flue damper closed when you’re not using the fireplace. If you never use your fireplace, consider plugging the chimney and sealing the doors with caulk.


Insulation prevents the transfer of heat from heated areas of your home to unheated areas. Exterior walls are the most commonly insulated part of a home, but there are other areas where insulation is beneficial:

  • Floors and ceilings. The attic is a major source of winter heat lo  [ send green star]
 November 15, 2005 6:28 PM

  • Floors and ceilings. The attic is a major source of winter heat loss (and summer heat gain), so insulating the attic floor will help make rooms below the attic more comfortable. By the same token, insulating basement and garage ceilings will benefit the rooms above those spaces.
  • Windows. If you don’t have storm windows, install plastic film on the inside of your window panes. Curtains and blinds can also help prevent heat transfer; keep them closed on winter nights and hot summer days.
  • Heating systems. Add insulation around your water heater and around hot water pipes and heating ducts located in unheated spaces.

For more information:

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy—Buttoning Up Your Home

Power House—Weatherizing Your Home

Better Homes and Gardens—Insulating and Weatherizing

U.S. Department of Energy—Insulation and Air Sealing

U.S. Department of Energy—Weatherization Assistance Program

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