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Weatherization Basics for Year-Round Comfort

April 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 103

Weatherization is defined as the process of protecting a structure and its interior from outside elements, notably precipitation, wind and sunlight, and of modifying the structure to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency. Although many people think of weatherization as protection from the cold, it is equally important in both heating and cooling, so that a house remains comfortable throughout the year. Air conditioners, as well as heating systems, are forced to work harder and consume more energy and dollars if weatherization principles have not been implemented.

When a house shifts or is damaged by the elements, seals around windows and doors, for example, must be maintained to prevent further damage and energy loss. But this is just a small part of the process; some typical weatherization procedures include:

- Sealing bypasses (cracks, gaps, holes) around doors, windows, pipes and wiring that penetrate the ceiling and floor, and other areas with high potential for air loss, using caulk, foam sealant, weather-stripping, window film, door sweeps, electrical receptacle gaskets to reduce infiltration.

- Sealing recessed lighting fixtures which leak large amounts of air into unconditioned attic space.

- Sealing air ducts which can account for 20% of air loss.

- Installing and/or replacing dampers in exhaust ducts to prevent outside air from entering the house when the exhaust fan or clothes dryer is not being used.

- Protecting pipes from corrosion and freezing.

- Installing footing drains, foundation waterproofing membranes, interior perimeter drains, sump pumps, gutters and downspout extensions, downward-sloping grading, French drains, swales, and other other techniques to protect the house from both surface and ground water.

- Providing proper ventilation to unconditioned spaces to protect a house from the effects of condensation.

- Installing roofing, building wrap, siding, flashing, skylights or solar tubes and assuring they are in good condition.

- Installing insulation in walls, floors, and ceilings, around ducts, pipes, water heaters, and near the foundation and sill.

- Installing storm doors and storm windows.

- Replacing old drafty doors with tightly sealed foam-core doors.

- Replacing older windows with low-energy, double-glazed windows.

Today the traditional definition of weatherization has been extended to the commonly-used phrase "whole-house weatherization." This includes the installation of modern, energy-saving heating and cooling equipment, or repair of old, inefficient equipment, such as furnaces, boilers, water heaters, programmable thermostats, and air conditioners. Importantly, the "whole-house" approach looks at how the house performs as a system; this is critical for maximum benefit to the homeowner.

According to the U. S. Department of Energy, families taking advantage of weatherization services reduce their annual energy bills by an average of about $435, depending on fuel costs. And because weatherization energy improvements are long-lived, the savings add up over time to substantial benefits for not only families but communities and the country as a whole. All states as well as the U. S. Department of Energy offer weatherization incentive programs to help homeowners reduce their energy bills.

Beat the heat, and the cold. And start saving energy dollars.

Contact Dr. Energy Saver Des Moines today for a free estimate for weatherization in Iowa including air sealing, insulation and ductwork in Altoona, Des Moines, Urbandale, Ankeny, and all surrounding cities and towns.

Source: EzineArticles
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