FAQs

Q: What is weatherization?

A:Weatherization is making homes more energy efficient. Weatherization of a home typically involves the installation of attic, wall and floor insulation and sealing holes and cracks with caulking, weather-stripping and other types of materials.

Q:Does weatherization reduce energy bills?

A:Weatherization reduces your energy bills for a long time. After a home has been weatherized, energy used for heating is often reduced by up to 25 percent. Some improvements, such as insulating your walls or attic, for example, will continue to provide savings for the lifetime of the home — 30 years or more. Other improvements, such as making heating or cooling equipment more efficient, will provide savings for 10 to 15 years. On average, the value of the weatherization improvements to a house is 2.2 times greater than the cost of the improvement itself.

Q:How long does it take to complete the weatherization?

A:It generally takes two to three days to weatherize a home for typical efficiency measures. If extensive mechanical systems are involved, this may take longer depending on the number of system specialists required to complete the installation.

Q: How can I find out what energy efficiency measures make sense in my home?

A: A home energy audit is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy-efficient. An audit will show you problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time. During the audit, you can pinpoint where your house is losing energy. Audits also determine the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems. An audit may also show you ways to conserve hot water and electricity.

Q: Where are the biggest air leaks in my home?

A: Many air leaks are easy to find because they are easy to feel – like those around windows, doors, and through electrical outlets. But hidden air leaks in attics, basements, and around chimneys are often more significant sources of energy loss. Consider addressing these big leaks first because they will have a greater impact on improving your comfort and reducing your utility bills

Q: How should I maintain my heating and cooling equipment?

A: Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.

A typical maintenance check-up should include the following:

  • Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.

Q: How can I reduce water-heating costs in my home?

A: There are a number of ways you can reduce the amount of energy used to heat water. According to NorthWestern Energy, the following measures can help save money:

  • Repair leaky water faucets.
  • Limit showers to five minutes or less.
  • Only use dishwashers, clothes dryers and washing machines when they are full.
  • Install low-flow and faucet aerators and save about 18,250 gallons of heated water per year.
  • Set the temperature of water heaters to 120°F. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature of hot water running from a tap.
  • Install a high efficiency hot water heater.
  • Hot water pipes in unheated areas should be insulated. If located in a heated area, the first 10-feet of hot water pipe from the water heater tank should be insulated.
  • Choose energy-efficient hot water heaters when purchasing a new one. Con-Serve Energy recommends an energy factor of at least .59 or better for 40-gallon gas or propane heaters.
  • Turn your gas water heater thermostat to “pilot only” to save energy when you are away for several days. If it is an electric heater, turn it off. Write a note to remind yourself to turn it back on.
  • Drain water from the bottom of the tank at least every three months to avoid sediment accumulation and maintain energy efficiency. To drain the tank, open the drain valve at the tank bottom and allow the water to run until clear (one or two buckets of water usually will do).
  • Use cold water for laundry. Almost all detergents clean clothes effectively in cold water.
  • Skip the dry cycle on the dishwasher when possible. Open the door slightly so dishes dry naturally. This measure can save about one-half the power consumed in a normal cycle.

 

  • Weatherization

  • Green building

  • Sustainable building

  • Insulation

  • Energy Star Building

  • Blower Door Testing

  • Energy Audit

  • Duct Testing