Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR: Seal and Insulate Your Home for the Winter
By: Doug Anderson
This week EPA invites you to “Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR,” by sealing and insulating your home. This blog post is the first in a 5 part series from ENERGY STAR’s home envelope expert Doug Anderson about the benefits of sealing and insulating your home, and how you can get started this fall.
When you hear “getting ready for winter,” what comes to mind? Pulling winter coats out of storage? Buying new snow shovels, or maybe getting a new pair of winter boots? How about sealing and insulating your home? In fact, sealing holes and adding insulation in the attic could be some of the most important projects you do this fall.
Believe it or not, many homes are not ready for chilly winter weather. Older, and even some newer homes, are often under-insulated and teeming with hidden gaps and cracks, resulting in winter electric/gas bill spikes, and sometimes an inability to keep rooms comfortable. In fact, if you added up all the holes and gaps in a typical home, they would be equivalent to having one window open all the time!
By doing a few ENERGY STAR-recommended air sealing and insulation projects yourself, or hiring a contractor, you can start enjoying significant benefits, including:
- Reduced home energy use
- Lower utility bills
- Improved comfort (especially during summer and winter)
- Less household carbon emissions for a reduced environmental impact
How much can I expect to save from sealing and insulating?
EPA estimates that you can save $200 a year* (10 percent off your annual energy bills) by sealing and insulating your home according to guidance from ENERGY STAR. With many utility incentives and tax credits available today, these investments can pay for themselves over time.
The savings come from keeping heat in the home during the winter and outside during the summer. When your home is well-insulated and sealed, your heater and air conditioner can run less, saving electricity, natural gas, and money. Making the proper investments today means less waste and more savings.
Other sealing and insulating benefits
The benefits extend beyond just saving energy and money. By sealing and insulating your home according to ENERGY STAR recommendations, you may also improve your home in other ways, including:
- Reduced noise from outside
- Less pollen, dust, and pests entering your home
- Better humidity control
- Lower chance for ice dams on the roof/eves
Getting started on your sealing and insulating projects
Visit the newly updated Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR website for more in-depth information and resources on:
- How to check insulation levels and look for air leaks
- How to choose projects that best match your available time, resources, and skill level
- DIY project guidance, for example how to air seal your attic
- How to hire the right contractor for you
- Utility incentives and federal tax credits
Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR this week. Start sealing and insulating your home!
*Note: Assumes that the typical U.S. home spends $2000 per year on utility costs. This amount may be higher or lower depending on your location.
Doug Anderson is an ENERGY STAR Project Manager and has been with EPA for 13 years. He works on issues related to the home envelope, including insulation products and energy efficient residential windows.
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.