WEATHERIZATION

Making homes more comfortable by reducing air loss in the house and HVAC system

What is Weatherization

Residential homes vary in energy efficiency due to several factors such as the age of the house, wear & tear, neglect and lack of regard to building efficient homes. The primary goal of weatherization is to pinpoint inefficiencies, make necessary repairs or modifications, which in turn reduce energy consumption. Many homes can benefit tremendously from weatherizing a home. You can expect on average to see a 10 to 20% drop in your total utility bill and as a company we’ve seen as high as a 40% savings just from weatherization.

Benefits of Weatherization

  • Lower utility bills
  • Comfort
  • Quality indoor air
  • Lower environmental footprint
  • Save money
  • Mechanical equipment last longer

Increase value of your home

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What does it include?

  1. Test the efficiency of the house: Two tests are performed inside the home, a whole house infiltration test and duct leakage test. Both tests help us determine how energy efficient your home is. For the whole house infiltration test, we setup a blower door, which measures air loss in the entire house. This will give you an idea of how “leaky” (losing too much air) your home is or whether it’s considered a “tight” house.In the duct leakage test, we measure how much air you are losing in your duct system. This is a strong indicator of whether you will see a 10 to 20% savings in your utility bills or whether you will see much higher savings from the weatherization package.
  2. Seal the HVAC system: Depending on the results of your test, we aim to seal the Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system so that a 90% efficiency target is reached. The HVAC system accounts for 60 to 75% of a typical electric/gas bill. Because most homes lose 20% to 40% of their air generated by the system, sealing the duct system forces more air into the household. This allows the unit(s) to turn on less, thus generating monetary savings on your electric/gas bill. It also reduces the wear and tear on the unit because it has to work significantly less. The process of sealing the HVAC system consists of sealing parts of the furnace, duct work, duct connections, air plenums and air vents. This is done with a material called duct mastic and foil tape.
  3. Seal the Building Envelope: Air leakage in buildings represents between 5 to 40% of the total heating and cooling costs. Controlling Air Leakage is one of the most important functions of weatherization and often the most difficult. Depending on the test results we have an idea of how “leaky” your house is. Typically on older homes the building envelope will leak tremendously. Ideally your house should have a natural air exchange rate of approximately once every 3 hours.

The majority of homes we come across are having natural air exchanges 1 to 2 times per hour and in extreme situations 5 or 6 times per hour. This is high and for Texans in the summer time this air infiltration into the house results in poor indoor air quality and hot & humid air entering the house causing your air conditioner to work harder to cool the house down.

Correctly retrofitting the building envelope can keep from having to upgrade the air conditioner which in turn saves you thousands of dollars and from putting a band-aid fix on a larger problem.

Our goal for tightening the building envelope is to get your house to the point where the air infiltration is controlled. It’s better to have a house that controls the air flow than a house that just constantly pulls air in. The ideal situation is to get your house to the point that it would be necessary to have mechanical ventilation added to control the air exchange.

There are many items we can do to retrofit and correctly seal the envelope. The first step is to use a blower door system to correctly identify all possible air leaks. A majority of them can be corrected. Some of the common items that most home owners know about are changing weather-stripping, seal plumbing penetrations and caulk lights. But lot of times we will have to do the majority of the air sealing from the attic. This is one of the larger sources of air infiltration because proper care was not taken to correctly seal the house when it was built.

Some other benefits are:

  1. Save Money- In the summer your Air conditioner works more efficiently because cool air is not escaping into the hot attic air while at the same time the same hot attic air is not mixed into the cool duct work.
  2. Indoor Air Quality- Many people complain of duct work getting dirty or having a lot of problems with dust throughout their house. This is typically due to loose ducts or minor air leaks in duct systems. Combined with older homes that have old and degraded insulation, this can cause this insulation or dirt from the attics to get in the duct work. Loose ducts also can cause sweating which leads to mold issues.

When your house is having a natural air exchange rate greater than once per hour this brings in a lot of air from the outside. With that incoming air, there is dust, dirt and allergens. No one wants that coming into their house.

  1. Comfort- Sealing your ducts is one of the easiest ways to ease your comfort issues, it helps with those rooms that get to hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

Sealing the building envelope plays a major roll in comfort as well. If you can feel drafts coming from the doors, windows and even the outlets you know that this causes discomfort in your home.

  1. Preventative Maintenance- By sealing your ducts and the building evenlope you are helping your Air conditioning unit run less which in turn makes it last longer. It doesn’t have to work as hard to do the same thing.

Blower Door

Seal around furnace unit

Seal around registers/Boot of air vents

Seal around furnace unit

Seal Duct Connections

Seal around furnace unit

INTRO TO WEATHERIZATION

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