Much of your heating and air conditioning cost is due to heat loss in your home if it is just a few years old. This is because the average home will lose that tight solid just built situation fairly quickly.
One of the contributing factors to the problem is the fact that our humidity in New Mexico is low compared to most areas across the United States. Low humidity will cause wood and fiber products to shrink as they dry down. This in turn opens small gaps and cracks through which cold or hot air can pass.
Weatherization can be as simple and basic as a new caulking and foam seal around doors and windows. Or weatherization can be as extensive as changing all the doors and windows out in your home and adding extra insulation to your home.
Over the next few days you will see how to do things as simple as that caulk job or adding a new door seal or more extensive things like adding insulation and upgrading doors and windows.
First inventory your home or building. Things that need to be examined are doors and windows. Check whether they are thermal or insulated windows or single pane. Check doors for fit and whether they are insulated or standard wood or fiber core. Storm doors and storm windows if your house has them should also be checked for fit and damage.
All doors should have a seal that fits snugly and keeps the air from passing through the space between the jamb and door when it is closed. (A door jamb is that frame whether metal or wood in which the door is mounted in and set) Doors should also be checked for the type of glass they have if they are with lites or windows.
Check around outlets in exterior walls of your home. You can check to see if cold air is leaking in or out by using a simple incense or punk stick. Light the stick and hold it near the place where a outlet or penetration in your wall is situated and watch that thin stream of smoke. The smoke will rise gently up or drift if there is no air flow through the wall around the outlet or penetration(such as for a cable or phone line). However if there is a airflow occurring, the smoke will be pulled out through the wall around the penetration or be pushed into the room. This method with a incense stick can be used around all your doors and windows.
Next check the skylights if you have them in your home. Heat rises and cold air sinks, so in the winter time cold air will settle on a roof surface, especially on our southwest style roofs and it will enter your home around skylights that are loose or not properly sealed. Skylights can also be upgraded if need be to more energy efficient models and it is often the best way to deal with them.
If your home has 2 X4 wall frame construction the insulation in the walls is most likely R-ll or less. This was considered great by older standards of years gone by but the new homes are insulated to a much higher standard. You can consider upgrading insulation at the point you do a major renovation or remodel and there are some things that can help now.
Attics and crawl spaces are another area where it is often fairly easy to upgrade with very good results and major savings. There several options available in the attic insulation and regardless of what kind of roof you have, you will find it is very cost effective to add insulation. Even if you have a flat roof and no attic access on your existing roof you can still add insulation to the roof area.
These are some of the major and obvious areas of concern. After addressing these, you can fine tune your own weatherization program to your specific house.
The next series of articles will deal with each of these issues and you will learn how to ease the pressure on your pocket book.