Conservation Tip: Insulate to Mitigate

Sources of air leaks in your home. Areas that leak air into and out of your home cost you a lot of money. The areas listed in the illustration are the most common sources of air leaks. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Sources of air leaks in your home. Areas that leak air into and out of your home cost you a lot of money. The areas listed in the illustration are the most common sources of air leaks. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

In the interest of helping our readers reduce energy and water waste, Sustainable Utah will publish weekly conservation tips contributed by the Student Energy Ambassadors, a program funded by Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Gas.

By the Student Energy Ambassadors

Many new homes have state-of-the-art insulation that allows very little thermal leakage in and out of the house. This includes features like double-pane vinyl windows, insulated walls and attics, weatherstripping, and insulated piping. But not everyone can afford a brand-new home, and we have to make do with what we have. Here are a few tips you can try to keep your house nice and sealed: first, use either latex or silicone caulk to seal any cracks you find. It’s an investment at first, ranging in price from about $25 on the cheap end to $120 for professional-grade sealant, but the energy savings can be huge. Most homes have enough air leaking through cracks to equal the air leaving through a wide open window for an entire winter. Second, remember to put weatherstripping on your doors to prevent drafts. Third, install hot water pipe insulation in your basement until it goes into the wall, as well as installing electrical outlet and switch plate insulation. Finally, if you plant trees and shrubs on the south and west sides of your residence, it acts as natural insulation by providing shade and reducing the thermal gain in a building.

One response to “Conservation Tip: Insulate to Mitigate

  1. This is so helpful to have a way to decrease energy loss without replacing all of the insulation. Even if you installed state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems, cracks and drafts are going to drive up your energy bill. My family figured out a good system for managing the temperature of the home without turning on the AC or the heater. Controlling the airflow, whether cool or warm, is the key to saving energy in the house.

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