Last May I moved into a new Energy Star featured home in a new subdivision in northeast Chico. I appreciated the rating, and my utility bills were lower than the home I sold that I had installed solar power on. The appliances are all Energy Star rated efficient and thats good. I still plan to put solar on this home, but the process takes a lot of planning.
This weekend I decided to finish some work I started in upgrading the light switches from standard to the flat rocker switch stylish models. It also happened that yesterday was a strong north wind. While taking the light switch covers off I noticed cold air coming out of the switchplate holes, and when the covers were off completely, I could feel a significant breeze!
Thinking maybe it was just the one I was working on, I started to check other switches and outlets in the room, then the whole house. Yep, with the north wind pressurizing my attic, it was like having vents all around the room. I had hoped that the contractor would have sealed the hole where wires come down from the attic into the interior of the house. Its easy to do, and takes only a quick shot of sealing foam. No such luck.
The outside air instrusion wastes a lot of energy in heating/cooling, it also brings a lot of dust into the house. Time to get out the Great Stuff. It baffles me that contractors don’t foam seal all utility holes in and out of a home as a matter of course. Its easy and inexpensive, and far easier to do when the home is being built. You’d think any new home built today would have this done standard, especially ones that are touting Energy Star rated appliances and other energy saving features.
If you have excessive heating/cooling bills it may be that your home leaks like a sieve too. Just get a can of this sealant, and start working on any orifice that makes it to the outside.
There are lots of other things you can do to make your home more energy efficient, and the EPA Energy Star website has a great tutorial to help you figure out where your home could use attention.