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Simple and Affordable Steps to Save Energy (and Lower Costs) Today

Simple and Affordable Steps to Save Energy (and Lower Costs) Today

How to save money on your monthly energy bill without breaking the bank

If you’ve spent any time on our website, you will probably notice we spend a lot of time talknig about air source heat pumps — comparing them to other electric systems, other fossil fuel systems, other types of heat pump systems, educating on their air quality benefits, how well they work in cold climates (the list goes on!). In this post, we are sharing simpler home and building improvements you can make that are low cost and low effort but can have a BIG impact on your energy bills. These improvements can be referred to with the umbrella term “weatherstripping.”

What is weatherstripping and why is it important?

Weatherstripping is a means to protect your home or building from the outdoor elements. Think: insulation, double glazed windows, even those sweeps that can be glued to the bottom of your door. You may also hear the phrase “air sealing” to describe similar upgrades. Below is a list of our favorite affordable and easy-to-install weatherstripping measures.  

Weatherstripping Measures

The two suggestions below require caulk and can be done by home and building owners themselves.

  1. Caulk cracked window and door frames, holes in building exterior from electrical and plumbing penetrations, roof-to-wall intersections 
  2. If you have a basement, caulk around all pipe and electrical penetrations through the exterior wall and ceiling or penetrating from an unconditioned interior space into a conditioned space

Check out the table below (inspired by this one from the U.S. Department Energy) to learn about more upgrade measures, their associated cost range and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Weatherstripping Upgrade

Where to Use

Cost Range

Advantages

Disadvantages

Felt:

Plain or reinforced with a flexible metal strip; sold in rolls. Must be stapled, glued, or tacked into place. Seals best if staples are parallel to length of the strip.

Around a door or window (reinforced felt); fitted into a door jamb so the door presses against it. Low Easy to install. Low durability; least effective preventing airflow. Do not use where exposed to moisture or where there is friction or abrasion. All-wool felt is more durable and more expensive. Very visible.

Tape:

Nonporous, closed-cell foam, open-cell foam, or EDPM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber.

Top and bottom of window sash; door frames; attic hatches and inoperable windows. Good for blocking corners and irregular cracks. Low Extremely easy to install, works well when compressed. Can be reinforced with staples. Durability varies with material used, but not especially high for all; use where little wear is expected; visible.

Rolled or reinforced vinyl:

Pliable or rigid strip gasket (attached to wood or metal strips.)

Door or window stops; top or bottom of window sash; bottom of a door (rigid strip only). Low to moderate Easy installation. Self-adhesive on pliable vinyl may not adhere to metal; some types of rigid strip gaskets provide slot holes to adjust height, increasing durability. Comes in varying colors to help with visibility. Visible

Tension seal:

Self-stick plastic (vinyl) folded along length in a V-shape or a springy bronze strip (also copper, aluminum, and stainless steel) shaped to bridge a gap. The shape of the material creates a seal by pressing against the sides of a crack to block drafts.

Inside the track of a double-hung or sliding window, top and sides of door. Surfaces must be flat and smooth. Moderate; varies with material used Durable, invisible when in place, very effective. Vinyl is fairly easy to install. Look of bronze works well for older homes. Can be difficult to install, as corners must be snug. Bronze must be nailed in place (every three inches or so) so as not to bend or wrinkle. Can increase resistance in opening/closing doors or windows. 

Door sweep:

Aluminum or stainless steel with brush of plastic, vinyl, sponge, or felt.

Bottom of interior side of in-swinging door; bottom of exterior side of exterior-swinging door. Moderate to high Relatively easy to install; many types are adjustable for uneven threshold. Automatically retracting sweeps available that reduce drag and increase durability. Visible. Can drag on carpet. Automatic sweeps are more expensive and can require a small pause once door is unlatched before retracting.

We hope you found these suggestions helpful. If you’re ready to take the next step to most energy efficient heating and cooling systems on the market, please fill out this short form with your home or building’s information and get in touch with a BlocPower expert today!

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