Air sealing and insulation is as common sense as it sounds: if you are paying for the air in your home to be heated or cooled, you wouldn’t want that air to leak outside or be wasted in areas of your home you rarely, if ever, are in. First and foremost, it is important to seal the “envelope” of your home and then turn your attention to adding insulation, which works best with an air barrier already present. Working in tandem, air sealing and insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs by 20%.
As mentioned by the Department of Energy, the two tried and true air sealing methods are caulking and weatherstripping, both of which can offer a return on investment in one year or less. As they put it, “[c]aulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.” Both methods work wonders to prevent conditioned air from leaking out of every nook and cranny.
Meanwhile, insulation comes in all shapes and forms, but each type works in the same way: by slowing the rate of heat transfer. This is especially important at the periphery of a home, as creating a so-called “thermal break” is crucial to preventing heat loss or absorption. Thus, insulation efforts are primarily focused on walls, floors, crawl spaces and attics. Special, low thermal conductivity materials placed inside these areas are given “R-values,” where the higher the R-value, the better the insulation. Differing climates and differing building structures call for varying levels and quality of insulation, making professional assessments key.
Given the case-by-case nature of both air sealing and insulation efforts, Powering Our Future does not currently offer incentives for either service nor does it recommend any particular contractors. However, for households within New Castle County, Powering Our Future will rebate $50 of the cost* of an initial Home Performance Assessment from Energize Delaware. This program conducts an energy assessment of your home and offers suggestions on how to improve your household’s energy efficiency, even offering rebates for a range of air sealing improvement projects and measures to install insulation in various locations.
*NOTE: Each household is limited to one Home Performance Assessment rebate. There are a limited number of rebates allocated each quarter, with priority given to households within our current service area.