Weatherize My Home

One of the most cost effective energy saving measures is to seal air leaks in your home.  You can save from 5-15% of your home heating and cooling by simply plugging holes.  And you can usually do it yourself for just a few dollars in supplies.

 

Medium
Households: 3 completed, 1 committed
400
Points ?
$30
Annual Savings
$20 - $50
Upfront Cost
These are estimates
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Energy and water savings

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0
kWh Electricity
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22
Therms Natural Gas
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0
Gallons Gas
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0
Gallons Water
  • Save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs
  • Significantly improve the comfort of your home
  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

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Overview

The Action
We will weatherize our home, sealing air leaks around windows, walls and doors.
Is this action for me?
Yes!  This action is for everyone. If you rent, check with your landlord first to get permission.
When and Who?
This action can be done any time and most people can do it themselves.  
How long will it take?
Medium, a few hours to get supplies and seal leaks.
What is the cost?
Around $20-50 for caulking and weatherstripping supplies.

Benefits

  • Save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs

  • Significantly improve the comfort of your home

  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

Resources

Rebate/Credit

Energy Upgrade California® Rebate for Energy Efficiency Home Improvements

Energy Upgrade California® Rebate for Energy Efficiency Home Improvements

Financing

Weatherization services & energy-efficiency upgrades for low-income homes.

The Basics

Air leaks are one of the largest sources of heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Drafty doors and windows can make your heater and air conditioner work harder. A few easy steps to seal leaks can significantly increase the comfort of your home and save energy and money.

Checklist

Identify Air Leaks
Install weatherstripping on drafty windows and doors
Caulk and seal air leaks
Install door sweeps
Keep heat from escaping through the fireplace

First, identify your air leaks

This low cost, simple action is for everyone and can save significant money on your monthly heating bills and make your home much more comfortable. The savings should quickly cover the cost for materials. This action can generally be done yourself, if you're not sure, it's possible a neighbor or a friend may be able to help you out.  Most handypersons are also qualified to do these simple repairs.  

First step - identify your air leaks.  If you want a detailed assessment of your home's air leaks, you can hire a qualified Energy Audit professional to perform an energy audit.  However, you can also detect many leaks on your own.  Check out the Energy.gov guides: Detecting Air Leaks and Tips for Sealing Air Leaks.  The next step - seal them!

Install weatherstripping for drafty windows and doors

Weatherstripping is used to seal air leaks around movable items like windows and doors and is easy to apply.  If you already have weatherstripping, check its condition.  Weatherstripping can become worn and cracked and requires occasional replacement.  Before you start, check out the Energy.gov Weatherstripping guide.  If you still have questions, your local hardware store can likely help you identify which products will work for your project.  

Caulk and seal air leaks

Caulking is best for sealing smaller air leaks.  Some prime areas for caulking include windows, doors, ceiling fixtures, electrical outlets, plumbing pipes, chimneys and more.  For larger gaps you can also use foam sealant.  There are different kinds of caulking; your local hardware store professional can probably suggest caulking materials appropriate for each task. You can also check out the Energy.gov How to and Caulking Guide.  For sealing air leaks around a fireplace, furnace or water heater vent, use fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal, or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.

Install door sweeps and repair thresholds

In addition to weatherstripping, door sweeps and thresholds installed on the bottom of doors prevent cold air from coming in and warm air from escaping your home.  Check all your doors and upgrade and repair where necessary.  Use thresholds with pliable sealing gaskets for the best effect.

Block heat from escaping up your chimney

If you have a fireplace, make sure your fireplace flue damper is working properly and is closed when not in use.  You can also install glass doors and keep them closed to keep in the warm air.  If you have retired your fireplace for good, install rigid insulation in the chimney to block heat loss around the damper.

Now that you have sealed air leaks in your home, consider insulating your walls & floors if needed.  Also check out the Weatherize and Insulate your Attic action for more savings!

Success Stories

I have been on the Menlo Green Challenge since it began in 2016, and have completed many of the actions on the website. 

One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce Carbon footprints is to change eating habits. I cut red meat out of my diet since the carbon footprint for beef is 28 times its own weight and lamb has a footprint 35 times its weight. 

I also take alternative forms of transportation.  I’m a long-time bike rider and use a bike on most trips under 5 miles. Using bikes for short trips has enabled our family to share one car and save lots of money. Some folks say biking isn’t for everyone though; for two-car families, I highly recommend having one of the vehicles be electric!

I've installed solar panels on my home, which cut my electricity bill down to $10/month. That is the lowest bill a customer can receive from PG&E to support the electric grid. I work with a non-profit called SunWork, and they were able to help me install solar, with a 30% discount because our household was already energy efficient. If you’re efficient and your energy bill is less than $100 per month, you could also use Sun Work and their local volunteers to help install low cost solar.

I also installed a heat pump water heater in my house, replacing the gas one. After tax credits, the heater was $500. It is an electric heater, so together with solar panels, it’s great to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels to heat our water.

I enjoy finding creative, innovative ideas that help my household become efficient and sustainable. I developed a system that delivers waste heat from solar panels back into my home, recycling the excess heat and making it purposeful. This solar heater is still a prototype; I’m still figuring out the best way to prevent leaks in the system.

Taking shorter showers is a great way to save water; you can save energy too, with lower water temperatures, starting by turning your water heater setting down. My shower has a covering that traps steam in, preventing drafts that makes you cold. The cover has the added bonus of allowing you to shower comfortably at cooler temperatures.  

Whether you’re handy at home or not, everyone can take actions to reduce their carbon footprint. Getting started is easy with this Green Challenge site.