Want to make your home or business more energy-efficient, comfortable, and cost-effective? Protecting your building or home from external elements, such as wind, snow, or sunlight, known as “weatherizing”, reduces utility usage, saving you money while making your space more livable.
Weatherizing can be as simple as finding and sealing air leaks in the structure and is the first step in making your home a more comfortable and efficient living space. By limiting the number of leaks in your home, you decrease the need to turn on air conditioning in the summer (or heating in the winter) which reduces your energy usage. Not only will you be improving comfort, but you will lower your energy bills while also helping reduce your carbon footprint.
Energy efficiency experts, the nonprofit Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) is available in central and northern Virginia to provide guidance for home energy needs. Here are some tips and methods LEAP provides to get started on your journey for a safer, more comfortable, and more efficient home:
- Conduct a blower door test. A blower door is a machine that measures the airtightness of a building. The blower door creates a pressure difference between inside and outside air, forcing air through any leaks in your building envelope. Contact a local energy efficiency service provider to have a blower door test performed in your living space.
- Window insulation kits may be purchased at any home improvement store or online. They utilize a plastic sheet that is taped to the inside of a window frame, then heated with a hairdryer to shrink the plastic to a tight fit. The plastic sheet seals the entire window and helps to stop cold air drafts. This type of treatment is best used for windows that you plan on keeping closed throughout the winter.
- Conducting a do-it-yourself air leakage test is a great way for someone to begin to find minor air leaks in their home, usually around windows and doors. To perform a DIY air leakage test:
- First close all windows and exterior doors of your home.
- Then, turn on all of the exhaust fans to depressurize the home.
- Walk around feeling for air leaks around windows (including the window trim), doors, kitchen wall penetrations like water or gas pipes, fireplaces, and recessed lights. To see leaks a bit easier, you can carefully use a lit candle, lighter, or incense stick to illuminate air flow.
To get the full picture of your home’s energy leakage, LEAP recommends making an appointment for a professional audit. LEAP offers FREE weatherization services to qualifying residents like insulation, heat pump replacement, and more. During a Home Energy Assessment you’ll receive:
- 90-minute home evaluation by one of LEAP’s certified Residential Building Analysts
- Blower door test to measure air leakage
- Infrared scans to locate insulation problems
- A checklist of energy-saving improvements
- Free energy-saving products, such as LED lightbulbs
A LEAP professional conducts an energy audit.
Last year, LEAP helped income- and age-qualifying Northern Virginia residents in 55 homes reduce their energy bills and increase their homes’ energy efficiency with weatherization measures. This could be you – and the first step is an energy audit. Sign up here.
If you have any questions, contact LEAP at 434.227.4666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.