Weatherization Pays

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Although many people go the extra mile and weatherize their homes well, many others do very little or nothing at all to seal their homes and conserve energy. Let's see if we can't change this.


For those of us who live in colder climates, you might just assume we do what we can to keep our homes warm and use our energy wisely during the winter months. Yes, you would assume.

Why Weatherize Your Home? - weatherize your home, home weatherization, conserve energy, weatherize america, colder climates, winter months, storm windows, weather stripping, insulating

"Although many people go the extra mile and weatherize their homes well, many others do very little or nothing at all to seal their homes and conserve energy. Let's see if we can't change this."

Many do go the extra mile to seal their homes by installing their storm windows, replacing weather stripping on doors, insulating their walls, blowing extra insulation into their attics, installing programmable thermostats and a hundred other energy saving projects.

At the same time, many people do little or nothing at all. Whether they lack the time, don't have the skills, are only renting the home or have funding issues, it's hard to say. The result is that many homes, especially older homes within cities, have little or no work done to conserve energy.

So, this article is not for those who already weatherize their homes for winter, but for those who don't. It's my desire to find a way to motivate you to save energy, reduce your carbon footprint, and yes, save you money. That's tight, I'm going to attempt to twist your arm in an effort to help you save money.

Let's look again at the possibilities or situations why a home might not be properly weatherized.

Lack of Time to Weatherize

I can understand this excuse, but I will not validate it. Assuming you have some skill and some idea of how to weatherize, saying you have no time is more of an attempt to say you are either lazy or have simply chosen you don't want to do that specific type of work.

There are many types of work that we might not enjoy doing and if you just can't find the time to weatherize your home, then get somebody to do it for you. Yes, there are thousands of businesses out there that are waiting for you to call. They are eager to perform a wonderful job weatherizing your home.

So, while being busy, take just one moment and do a search online or in your local yellow pages and call a business that performs home weatherization and then your task is done. You will have gotten that monkey off your back and you'll feel good that you have done something to conserve energy...plus you will save money.

Lack of Skill

Your stance is that you want to weatherize your home, but you are not sure how to get that long yellow thing out of the tape measurer or you are confused about what a 6-in-1 screwdriver is or how to use it. I can sympathize with you and for all those who know you, but that is still no excuse for not taking any action to seal your home.

Nobody was born with knowledge, but we were all born with drive. Many of us have suppressed this drive over time and ended up learning very little in life, but the cool thing is that this is simply a choice and not really an affliction. What this means is that you do have it in you to learn new things. You really do. Say it quietly to yourself at first. "I can learn new things". Now say it out loud, "I can learn new things."

No matter what your past has taught you and no matter what your friends and relatives say, you can always do better if your truly choose to do so. Choose to do better and choose to set aside any fear of what you have to learn in order to weatherize your home and simply choose that you will learn what you must learn so that you can weatherize your home.

It can be a brave new world for you. It can be the beginning of a new world of confidence. Just choose to try, and when it gets tough or a little hairy, push through and try a little harder.

To get you started, I have two references for you with respect to learning about weatherization work:

Insulate and Weatherize - by Bruce Harley
This is a well written book that will show you many helpful things and will open a world of ideas for how to weatherize your home.

Weatherize America
This online weatherization business program is not just for businesses who want to perform weatherization work, but for anyone who wants to learn how to inspect their home and then follow up and perform the necessary weatherization repairs.

Tenants of Homes and Apartments

If you are determined to not put one cent of your money into the home or apartment you rent, that is your right, but if you are also the one paying for the heat, it's time to change your mind about what you think you are losing by weatherizing the space you pay to heat.

If you pay for the heat, you are the primary one who wins by any improvement you make to weatherize the home. Sure, some of the things you do might be permanent and will work towards increasing the value of the home, but it would help if you could set aside those thoughts for a moment and think about what is best for you. What will help you? Don't let it matter if it helps anyone else as well. Just focus on the thought of what will help you.

Will it help you if weather stripping on the doors is replaced? Will it help you if the single pane unused windows in the basement are permanently sealed off? Will it help you if the basement were better insulated where it is mostly above ground level? Will it help if cracks in the walls were caulked to stop air from blowing in? Will it help you if your drier vent was replaced with a drier vent seal? Will it help you if your water heater or boiler were wrapped with insulation?

All those questions pertain to improvements that may very well be permanent and would be helping the landlord to some degree, but to an even greater degree, they would be helping you, so just do them. If you choose to not do them in order to spite the landlord, his house has not changed and he loses nothing, but your heat is flowing out of the home , so you lose.

As a tenant for most of my life, the first thing I did in almost every home I moved into was to rewire it to some degree (rooms are not functional with just two receptacles) and I would insulate and seal it well. The bottom line is that I was going to live there and I wanted to be comfortable, and yes, the landlords home was improved and yes, the people who lived there after me were able to benefit by what I did, but who cares? I benefited for the whole time I lived there and I saved more money than what any improvements ever cost, plus I increased the comfort level of the home while I lived there.

If you are a tenant, everyone wins when you weatherize, but you win first, so set aside any reservations you might have and do yourself a favor and weatherize the space you are living in. You will waste less fuel, decrease your carbon footprint and will save money.

No Money

I understand not having money, but you do have money, it's just that there does not seem to be enough to 'waste' on improvements when so many other needs or desires already stand in line for your precious dollars.

You can still perform many weatherization improvements, but high-tech options such as shrink-wrap window seals can be set aside for good old sheets of plastic and duct tape. In addition, you would be amazed at how much weatherizing could be performed with a few tubes of carefully placed caulking.

One trick I learned to create the perfect seal is what I call the 'poor mans window seal'. Start by opening the window or door that does not seal well when shut. Apply a thick bead of caulking to the immoveable window or door area where the window or door would push against when closed. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the length of the caulking and then close the window or door tightly. Wait 12 to 24 hours and then open the window or door and remove the plastic swap and viola, you have a perfect fitting seal.

Overall, what I am trying to say is that even when the money is scarce, do as many little things as possible and be creative. The bottom line is that you will spend that money or more on fuel anyway.

One final option, and it varies dramatically from state to state, is to see if there is a local, county or state program to help you finance your home weatherization needs. Depending upon your income level, you might find you qualify for free or low cost weatherization work.

For Everyone Else

Weatherization pays. There is no simpler way to say it. Weatherization pays. So many people benefit when you choose to weatherize. First, there's you, then there are those you might hire to help you, and then there's the stores you buy the supplies from, and then there's the global fuel demand which you just helped to lower, reducing prices for everyone in the world, and then finally there is the world that benefits.

Weatherizing is the gift that keeps on giving since many of the improvements you make will last for years, plus, many of the improvements you make to reduce your fuel costs, will also help reduce air conditioning costs during the summer. There is simply no down-side to weatherizing.

Weatherize your living space today and the whole world becomes a happier place.


 

David Nelmes Sr. - David is an author and home energy inspector in Pennsylvania, specializing in the fields of Heating and Air Conditioning, Electrical Wiring and Interiors/Insulation.

Davidís career highlights include authoring 'The Rewards of Making Energy Efficient Choices', working in the electrical engineering division of three nuclear power plants and serving as an administrator, engineer and installer in the heating and air conditioning field.

He lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with his wonderful and supportive wife, Karlene and spends his time writing, performing home energy audits and developing web sites.

Website: Weatherize America

 

This energy related article was reproduced with permission from Alternative Power Choices and is ©2008 David Nelmes.

 


 
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