Weatherizing Your Home


Fast Facts

  • Weatherizing your home involves making sure that all gaps in your home's building envelope are plugged and that your home has a sufficient amount of insulation in all parts of the envelope.
  • Unless your home was constructed with special attention to energy efficiency, adding insulation will probably reduce your utility bills.
  • Much of the existing housing stock in the United States is not insulated to the best level.
  • The air leakage in a typical U.S. home is equal to leaving a window wide open.
  • Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes.
  • It is possible to add insulation to almost any house.
  • Heat flows from warmer to cool spaces, moving directly from all heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, and basements, or to the outdoors. During the cooling season, heat flows from outdoors to the house interior.
  • Insulation is rated in terms of thermal resistance, called R-value, which indicates the resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.

What can I do to save energy in my home?

  • Insulate your attic to the recommended level, including the attic door, or hatch cover.
  • Provide the recommended level of insulation under floors above unheated spaces, around walls in a heated basement or unventilated crawl space, and on the edges of slabs-on-grade.
  • Use the recommended levels of insulation for exterior walls for new house construction. When remodeling or re-siding your house, consider using the levels recommended for new construction in your existing walls.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows
  • Close chimney flue and seal unused fireplaces
  • Seal exterior wall around pipes and wires
  • Use plastic sheeting on the interiors to make a temporary double-pane window
  • When replacing windows, consider a double pane windows with a frame in vinyl or wood clad in vinyl or aluminum.
  • Insulate openings for whole-house fans

Additional Sources of Information

Save Energy and $Money$ with These Simple Tips


The ENERGY STAR web site gives an on-site assessment tool to rate your home's energy use. The site offers homeowners the top five cost-effective home improvements to save money, improve comfort, and to protect the environment.

Another excellent resource for residential energy savings is the U.S. DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory publication, ENERGY SAVERS, Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home. You can download it from their website.

Two simple, yet very effective measures homeowners can take to reduce energy bills:

  1. Purchase a water heater blanket: With its heat reflecting insulated material, it can save approximately 20% in heating costs. A one-size-fits-all blanket will fit all heaters up to 72 gallons and can be used on any gas or electric unit. Water heater blankets are not expensive and can be bought in many stores.
  2. Landscape with trees, shrubs, or vines around your home: Besides the aesthetic benefits to your property, well-placed trees can actually save up to 25% of a typical household's heating and cooling costs. Trees provide shade and evaporative cooling to reduce air temperatures. Tree-shaded neighborhoods have been found to be 3 to 6 degrees cooler in the summer. Planting deciduous trees around the south perimeter of a house give protection from summer sun but allow the winter sunlight to reach and warm the house. Vines are excellent for shade and cooling when planted near windows or even an entire side of a house. Evergreen trees and shrubs planted on north and west sides of homes provide helpful wind breaks in the winter and deflect summer winds if planted on south and west locations around your home. When choosing trees, consider height, growth rate, branch spread and the shape as important factors.

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