Properly sealing and insulating are great first steps to saving energy
There are a number of ways heated or cooled air can leave your home or office, and all of them cost you money. The good news is most weatherization fixes are relatively inexpensive, will improve comfort and can pay for themselves within two years.
The two main areas of weatherization are air sealing and insulation.
The most common ways indoor air escapes outdoors – and vice versa – are around doors and windows, through electrical and plumbing fixtures, and in recessed lighting and ductwork. Before tackling any insulation work, make sure you seal your home or office as much as possible.
Some air sealing can be done by anyone with weather-stripping and a caulking gun. For best results, air sealing is best done by a professional who can test for and repair all leaks. This might include a blower door test.
Many homes in Oregon don’t have adequate insulation for our climate, and some homes and apartments have no insulation at all. Protect insulation from chimneys and heat-producing fixtures, including recessed lights. Online guides can help you make sure you have adequate ventilation in spaces like attics.
The Oregon Department of Energy recommends insulating attic floors to R-38 and basement or crawl spaces under floors to at least R-25. Also, after your ductwork is properly sealed, ducts should be insulated to R-8 and water pipes to R-3.
Other areas to consider for more insulation: walls (R-13), new doors (U-value rating of 0.20 or better) and energy efficient windows (U-value of 0.35 or better). However, be aware that replacing windows has a long payback period.
How ODOE Can Help
Rebates, incentives, and tax credits are available for some of these activities, including an energy audit of the structure. Please visit our website, Energy Trust, and your local utility to find out more.