Weatherization Services in Austin

There are two good reasons to weatherize and insulate your home: your family, and the environment. For you and your family, weatherization will result in a more comfortable home and lower cooling/heating bills.  Have you ever wondered how much energy is being wasted in your home? The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs states that more than 40% of the energy consumed in a typical household goes to heating and cooling. The US Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that air leakage can account for up to 40% of a typical household’s heating and cooling bill.

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During the weatherization process, our technicians evaluate the building envelope, the doorways, and the air ducts for any type of crack, gap, or opening that allows conditioned air (warm or cold, depending on the season) to escape and unconditioned, unfiltered air to take its place.  These small areas may seem insignificant but according to Austin Energy, a typical older home loses 20 to 30% of the air that flows through its duct system.

Smart Air’s weatherization program includes:

  • Caulking plumbing and electrical penetrations under sinks and in attic

  • Sealing air ducts and returns

  • Installing weatherstripping

  • Making recommendations for other improvements based on your home’s specific needs

  • Adding insulation as needed to reach the recommended level of R38

attic with no insulation: R value of 0

BEFORE: attic with no insulation: R value of 0

attic insulation after Smart Air weatherization: R value 38-40

AFTER: attic insulation after Smart Air weatherization: R value 38-40

The DOE states that one of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable year-round is to add insulation to your attic.

Attic insulation is a real issue in the Central Texas area.  Attic temperatures can reach well over 150 degrees in Austin summers, and without insulation that heat transfers directly to your ceilings and radiates from them into the living areas.   Austin Energy recommends an R (insulating) value of 38 in the attics of all homes in the area.  But many homes built more than a few years ago had insulation with a much lower R value originally installed.  That insulation has further degraded over the years, leaving many homes with a functional R value of less than 10. From the attic, we often see that additions and garage enclosures have not been insulated at all and the home owner may not even be aware of that fact!  Adding the proper depth of insulation to all areas so that the entire attic has a consistent R value of 38 is an integral part of weatherizing your home.

Weatherization and the Environment

This explains what weatherization and insulation will do for you and your family: make your home more comfortable, while saving money on your heating and cooling bills. But what effect does weatherization and insulation have on the environment? When you reduce the amount of energy you and your family waste via a leaky building envelope, you reduce the amount you need to buy. This in turn decreases the amount your utility provider has to buy or generate, which reduces the amount of energy the US has to generate, which decreases the amount of the world’s resources that are used, as well as the amount of pollution created while generating, transporting, and storing energy.

It all adds up! According to the DOE’s website, …you have the power to reduce energy demand, and when you reduce demand, you cut the amount of resources, like coal and gas, needed to make energy that means you create less greenhouse gas emissions, which keeps air cleaner for all of us.  Plus, reducing energy use increases our energy security.

Some Facts and Figures from the US Department of Energy

  • The United States uses nearly a million dollars worth of energy each minute, every day of the year.
  • With less than 5% of the world’s population, the United States consumes about 25% of the world’s energy resources.
  • The United States uses about 342 million Btu (British thermal units, a way of measuring energy) per person in a year, while the rest of the world on average uses 70 million Btu per person per year.
  • Any reduction in energy usage we as individuals, families, and businesses make will add up to help balance these national statistics.
  • Just as your house is a system in which all parts should work together to keep you comfortable without wasting your money, our environment is also a system in which all parts should work together to support us while still conserving natural resources.
  • The good news is that by having Smart Air’s weatherization team tighten up your house system, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to save money and conserve resources!

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