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Ways to reduce air loss and boost energy savings

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: Necessary home improvements
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If the wind seems to blow through your windows in the winter, it’s time to get serious and reduce air loss. By sealing leaks and adding insulation in key spots, you can boost your energy savings by as much as 20 percent, according to Energy Star.

The energy savings are based on a standard 3 bedroom house with 1,500 square feet of conditioned floor area and 20 percent duct leakage.

Here’s how to approach this important home improvement project. First, take stock of your doors and windows, and any other sources of air leaks. Consider replacing older windows that have single pane glass, inoperable ropes and pulleys, and unappealing designs. Here’s a good overview from the U.S. Department of Energy on:

  1. Getting an energy assessment
  2. Having a blower door test done to find leaks.
  3. DIY steps to help you reduce air loss

Adding insulation: one part of energy savings picture

Next comes adding insulation, a key solution for keeping out the cold (or the heat in the summer months). If you have an older home without insulation, are feeling uncomfortably cold in the winter or have high energy bills, insulation could be the answer.

The key types to consider, according to cellulose.org are cellulose, fiberglass, spray foam, soy-based foam and cotton/denim. Look for R-values of 19 for the walls and floors and 30 to 36 for an unfinished attic. Check out this chart by Energy Star for tips on which R value fits your region and project.

Confused about where to add insulation? Here are guidelines from the North American Insulation Manufacturer’s Association. Aside from the attic, consider these areas:

  1. Walls
  2. Floors
  3. Basement

Before tossing insulation in the walls, check the following:

  1. Ventilation
  2. Moisture control
  3. Air sealing

And as you plan your home improvement project, remember to look at the bigger energy picture, says the Kansas City Star.

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  1. 2 Responses to “Ways to reduce air loss and boost energy savings”

  2. Jan 17, 2012

    Beginning on the journey of home improvements can indeed be a daunting task. Finding the right contractor who is qualified and who you are comfortable with is vital. I would recommend, before beginning any aesthetic improvements, to focus on the infrastructure of the home. Is your home air-tight? Have you had an energy audit performed? These are questions you need to ask yourself.

  3. VR Kitchen
    Mar 5, 2012

    It is also worth mentioning that it is very important to ensure there is adequate ventilation in your roof space before adding more insulation at ceiling level. In the UK we have had many cases where condensation has become a severe problem in unventilated attics which have been highly insulated.

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