5 Unobvious Things You Can Do for a Cozier Home
Season 1 - Episode 1
Fall is the time for not only pumpkin spice and raking leaves, but also to take the opportunity to button up a few key places around your home while the weather is nice.
Eric Gans – Certified Energy Auditor in the State of Maryland
There are so many houses that I have been to for an energy audit where during the beginning walk through the owner is super focused on windows and doors. I know the reason for this. It is because it is the only possible place you can really see any cracks and crevices that lead to the outside.
But, there are far worse offenders than those two areas and they are usually hiding in plain sight.
Hello and welcome to the first episode of my new podcast that basically revolves around teaching some of the basics of building science so that more people can literally get into the driver’s seat when it comes to their energy usage and overall comfort around the house.
Today I am going to keep it really simple and stick to a blog post that I wrote that didn’t get much traction online, but I think it is a good one.
As the shadows begin to change and the pumpkin spice products begin to show up everywhere in Maryland we know winter is around the corner so implementing these tips during the nicer weather can help you improve your comfort during the cold season.
So, here are
5 Unobvious Things You Can Do For A Cozier Home
Target recessed light fixtures.
They are gateways for your warm air to escape. Consider this either your first lesson in building science – we all know warm air rises. What they forget to tell us as likely future building dwellers – that warm air goes right up and out into the attic through many different holes, cracks, crevices – if you let it.
How do we seal recessed lights? In two ways:
If you have recessed lights (“cans”) in the ceiling directly below an attic or a place where you have insulation then you need to seal off your lights from the attic – assuming that you can access the area. If not, there is another method I will mention soon. Sealing the cans from the attic is easy. You can build boxes with rigid foamboard and get up in the attic and cover the fixture and seal it to the attic floor with one part spray foam.
If your light fixture is in attic that is not accessible, then plan be would be to go online and order an LED retro fit kit which essentially will make a cover over the hole and prevent as much of your warm air from escaping, however it is always best to seal from above when possible.
Seal the Attic Floor
Along those same lines of thinking, if you seal the light fixtures that are allowing the heat to flow up and out, it would be a good idea to seal as many other offenders as possible.
Often times there are several large problems that can be treated to make a huge difference. This is very likely if you feel as though your home is really drafty and you just can get it comfortable on those extremely cold days.
Seal/insulate leaky broken duct runs. Checking your ducts for improvements to the seals can go a long way for better comfort and efficiency. It is especially important to do so if your ducts run “outside of your envelope” which basically means they are in the attic or maybe in a garage or crawl space. Sometimes, the simple act of sealing the ducts around the air handler, where pressure is greatest, can really help with getting more from your HVAC machine.
If you want to save energy at home and improve comfort, be sure to think about all of the places that you have access to an attic around your house. It is important to treat all of them. Typically, the attic access points around a house are made from 1/4" plywood or drywall. This is no way to separate the inside of your home from the attic (outside). A few pieces of insulation and a 10' piece of weatherstripping can go a long way!
If you have a fireplace, then you have another great way to improve your home comfort. Most people keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use, but usually it is made of metal. Chances are there is nothing stopping the flow of air through the chimney damper flap and out. Using a very simple blow up type device can really help to move the needle and decrease energy usage and improve comfort.
Thank you for listening. Again, my name is Eric Gans. I am a certified home energy auditor in Maryland and I participate in the BGE/Pepco Home Performance with Energy Star Program. I do comprehensive energy audits that also comes along with a detailed report, relevant incentives and a detailed prescription for better comfort and measured energy usage savings.
You can learn much more by visiting homeairleakagetest.com
That’s home air leakage test dot com.
Do you have some other issue not covered here?
Often times homeowners don't know what a home energy audit is or how it can actually help you understand energy waste in "three dimensional" ways.
For example, it is quite likely that a set of poorly sealed recessed lights will cost you far more in annual energy waste than perhaps all of the windows in your house.
Here is what the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program can do for you:
1. It can help you avoid choosing the wrong solution to a comfort problem you are having around the house.
Can an energy audit help you?
Send us an email and we will respond.
If you have an issue that you are not sure about fitting in the parameters of what an energy audit can help diagnose, please inquire.
Building Performance Institute
BGE Approved Energy Contractor
Insulation Info Maryland
Energy Audit Basics