Seal and Insulate Your Home to Rule Your Attic
How sealing your home can help lower your utility bills
Ashley Webb
2/8/2017
Environment
We all know the weather in Texas can be unpredictable, so when cooler temperatures arrive, homeowners should be aware of the amount of insulation their attic has to keep the cold air from seeping in.

In our last story, we asked homeowners to climb into their attics to measure insulation levels and take control of high utility bills. As we continue ENERGY STAR®’s Rule Your Attic! series, we are sharing some quick fixes to help homeowners save money and improve comfort in the winter months.

In Texas, and other southern climates, it is recommended that insulation measure 13-14 inches deep. If you can see floor joists or notice that insulation is low, you should consider making improvements to properly insulate your home.

Making improvement is easier than you think. Here are a few simple fixes that are effective in saving money and making your home more energy efficient:
  • Weather-strip and caulk around windows and doors to prevent drafts. A gap of just one-quarter inch can let in as much air as a softball-size hole.
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to stop air from leaking.
  • Consider ENERGY STAR®-qualified window models and low E-Glass windows. Their special coating will reflect infrared light, keeping heat in during winter and during summer.
  • Installing solar screens is a low-cost alternative to new windows.
“Whether it’s checking your attic insulation or looking for air leaks around doors and windows, evaluating your home is a great first start in saving energy in your home,” said India McKnight, Senior Program Manager in Oncor’s Energy Efficiency group.

Most homes in the United States don’t have enough insulation and have significant air leaks. In fact, if you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home’s envelope, it would be equivalent to having a window open every day of the year. 

No one wants increased utility costs, so properly sealing leaks in your home’s envelope can make a real difference. Sealing leaks and adding insulation can improve the overall comfort and help fix problems such as reduced noise from outside, reduce pollen, dust and insects, and improve humidly control.

The EPA has resources available at energystar.gov/sealandinsulate  to help you choose the best air sealing and insulation projects for your home. Also, check out The Wire next month for more expert advice and do-it-yourself tips and suggestions to Rule Your Attic.