Is Your Home Well-Sealed?
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Most of the time, when we think of the word envelope, we think of the outer covering that our mail comes in. Or, to irritate our kids or coworker, we might push the envelope.
However, your home’s envelope consists of its outer walls, windows, doors and other openings. A well-sealed envelope, coupled with the right amount of insulation, can reduce your energy use — and, in turn, your utility bills.
According to EnergyStar.gov, a whopping 9 out of 10 homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. Homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors, over crawl spaces and basements.
To determine if your home’s envelope is in good shape, conduct a home audit to pinpoint the leaks that allow energy to escape your home — air-conditioned air in the summer and heated air in the winter.
A qualified energy auditor will include an insulation check as part of a whole-house energy assessment and will identify areas of your home that need air sealing or insulation repairs. As your electric cooperative, we offer members energy audits to assist you in determining where your home may need additional “envelope TLC.” And as a bonus, don’t forget to check our rebate program when you determine what steps you need to take to tighten up your home’s envelope.
DIY home energy audit
If you prefer to complete your own energy audit rather than calling on a professional, you’ll need to know:
The type of insulation in your home.
The R-value (rate of thermal resistance) of your insulation. Typically, the higher the R-value, the more effective it is at insulating. Depending on where you live, you do not necessarily need the highest value; it depends on your local climate.
The thickness or depth (inches) of the insulation you have.
In a newer home, the builder can help identify the type of insulation used and where it is located. In an older home, you will need to perform the inspection yourself.