Save Money & Stay Cool This Summer by Weatherizing Your Home

Homeowners often think about weatherizing a home to reduce energy usage and maximize savings in cold weather. The fact is, however, energy efficiency is just as important during summer months. Simple improvements can make a big difference in your budget by lowering the demand for air conditioning, and you can increase comfort by keeping your home cooler. Best of all, these simple tasks can be completed quickly.

Caulking doors and windows: Air leakage is a serious problem, wasting as much as 30 percent of energy usage, moving both hot and cold air through small leaks and cracks in a building. Doors and windows are one of the most significant areas of loss. Running a bead of caulking around interior and exterior doors and windows will create a seal to minimize air flow and keep cool air in and hot air out. Buy high-quality caulk, and it will be many years before you need to remove and replace it. If you don’t have a steady hand, ask a hardware specialist for assistance in picking out a clear caulk (that will minimize mistakes), and purchase an inexpensive caulking tool to help you apply a straight bead. For more information, read “Air Sealing in Hot, Humid Climates,” which was written by an Atlanta HVAC expert.

Replace worn door sweeps and tighten up the jamb: Drafty doors suck up all your hard-earned money and get overlooked, but high traffic causes door sweeps to wear down quickly and weather-stripping to flatten out. There are several types of door sweeps available, most at an average cost of $10 to $13. Most come in standard door sizes, but they can be customized if necessary. None requires installation expertise beyond knowing how to use a screwdriver, or a small hacksaw if they need to be cut to size.

Sweeps are typically used for exterior doors, but if you have an infrequently used interior room (e.g. guest room) or a basement door leading to a den or man cave, putting a door sweep on those doors can make heating and cooling more energy efficient. Why use energy in unused spaces? Closing off those rooms through use of a sweep will enable you to keep the rest of your home at a more stable temperature.

After installing door sweeps, remove old weather-stripping from door jambs. For reluctant DIY-ers there are several replacement products available, from self-sticking foam tapes to V-seal or P-shaped silicon bulbs. They range in price from $4 to $11. Instructions for application are included in most packaging. Several manufacturers have online videos to help walk you through this very low-tech repair.

Insulate outlets and switches: Air leaks from attics and basements can travel through interior and exterior walls. Applying foam sealers to ALL receptacles and switches in a home is the easiest way to save. Cost for an average home? Less than $40, but you can realize savings up to 20 percent in energy use. Application is simple: Remove the screw attaching the outlet or switch covers, push the foam cutout over the outlet or switch. Before replacing the cover, check for open spaces around the switch boxes and use a spray foam insulating product to fill open areas (around the perimeter only). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for usage and use sparingly, since spray foam expands.

Use room darkening shades and fans: Being aware of your environment and how heating and cooling are affected by weather is the single biggest way to save money. Try weatherizing through strategic utilization of shades and fans. Install room-darkening shades or drapes in windows on the sunniest side of the house and pull them down in peak sunny hours to keep internal temperatures stable. Fans help to keep temperature balanced. Since they use less energy than air conditioners, fans can also keep you comfortable during cooler evenings.

All of these weatherizing improvements are low cost and can be completed in a weekend, but the savings and comfort will be appreciated for years. For information about available rebates for energy saving products or to download “A Guide To Energy Efficient Cooling & Heating” visit Energy Star.

Laura Foster-Bobroff is a former remodeling contractor. She wrote this article for Networx.com.

By Laura Foster-Bobroff, Networx

44 comments

Lindasy G.
Past Member 8 months ago

It’s amazing to visit again n again coming to your blogs the superb effort is here. hvac midland

Warren Webber
Warren Webberabout a year ago

I refridgerate my home by keeping the windows closed with the AC on; opening the windows lets that cool air out, just like with heater air in the winter!
I don't know why people keep forgetting that while opening the windows with the AC on!

Anne Woods
Anne Woods2 years ago

ty

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se2 years ago

ty

John S.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thanks, I wish that these tips would be useful, but sadly we don't really get much pass the comfortable range.

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey2 years ago

Be economical and graceful in movement, and know that a little honest sweat is not a bad thing :-)

Fi T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Good to be eco-friendly as for our future

Marie W.
Marie W.2 years ago

Thanks

Mary B.
Mary B.2 years ago

I keep half gallon plastic bottles of frozen water to put behind my fans when it has been hot for days with no real cool down at night. Only takes the temp down a few degrees but it get me thru untill we get a nice cool down.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Chaya, for Sharing this!