What is Home Weatherization?

B. Schreiber

Home weatherization refers to the practice of modifying home features to improve a house’s protection from the elements. Weatherization has gained attention because of the energy savings and increased efficiency that result from it. The primary goal of home weatherization is to reduce heat loss in winter or cold weather, but it also is useful for homes that are air-conditioned during the summer. Targets of home weatherization commonly include windows, doors and generally any site in the home where heated air might escape. Some of the easiest methods can save significant amounts of energy and money.

A caulk gun, which is used for home weatherization.
A caulk gun, which is used for home weatherization.

Two of the easiest ways to weatherize a home are by caulking and weather-stripping. A lit candle placed near a window or door trim can show drafts entering the home if the flame flickers. A bead of caulk applied to the area can easily solve the problem.

Weather-stripping should be used on double-hung windows where seals are inadequate.
Weather-stripping should be used on double-hung windows where seals are inadequate.

Adhesive weather-stripping is a cinch to apply to window sashes and door frames, which are among the most common places for drafts to occur. The weather-stripping should be checked annually. Simple door sweeps attached to door bases prevent drafts under doors that open outside or to the garage.

Many attics can benefit from more insulation. If the insulation does not reach the height of the floor joists, insulation can be added until it does. An adequate amount of insulation will prevent heat loss, which wastes energy.

Storm doors can protect exterior doors from the elements. If storm doors are well-sealed, they add another barrier between the home and the outdoors. Storm doors with screens help to cool the home in warm summer weather.

Another common step in weatherizing a home is replacing single-paned windows with double-paned windows. Double-paned windows contain a buffer of air, gas or a vacuum that prevents heat from being lost directly through the glass. This can be apparent to the touch, because the interior pane will have a temperature much closer to that indoors.

Single-panel windows, rather than double-hung, will be the most efficient because they not do have the multiple locks associated with heat loss through small drafts. If double-hung windows are used, one should apply weather-stripping where seals are inadequate. New windows might be cost-prohibitive, though. Interior storm windows might be considered if this is the case.

Home weatherization is a great first step to saving money on energy bills. Many of these improvements don’t require things such as a new hot water heater or furnace, which can be expensive. That is why the components of home weatherization are considered some of the fastest, easiest parts of home improvement — they can allow homeowners to reap significant benefits without investing a lot of time or money.

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We installed double glazed interior storm windows in our home last year. They were about $70.00 each and they are great energy savers, summer and winter. We love them. We got them from a company in Wisconsin called Energy Wise Mfg. --Joseph L.

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