If “polar vortex” is part of your vocabulary, you’re no stranger to Michigan’s volatile seasons. From arctic blasts to gusting winds, nearly every house across the state has been tested by the elements this winter. While we can’t control the weather, we can prepare for it — and enjoy added benefits in the process.

Weatherizing your home — making energy improvements to protect your house from Mother Nature — is your first line of defense against unpredictable temperatures now and throughout the year (yes, even in the sweltering summer). A weatherproofed home can improve your family’s health and safety while providing a more comfortable and secure house (fewer pests, better air quality), increased energy efficiency and smaller utility bills.

Make your home healthier and safer

Apart from windows, a bulk of the issues and inefficiencies that occur in our homes happen in places we don’t often see — basements, crawlspaces, attics and more. As a result, we may be exposed to serious health hazards for months or even years. Small cracks and crevices allow the outside air in, making our rooms draftier, our floors colder and our energy equipment, like furnaces and air conditioners, work harder. They also let in lots of dust and other irritants that may affect indoor air quality — a real issue for small children, those who suffer from asthma and anyone wanting to avoid illness.

Additionally, outdated furnaces and water heaters can emit carbon monoxide, old duct work can contain asbestos and mold can lead to serious health issues. However, getting a whole-home energy assessment not only helps you identify these hazards, but also stay protected and comfortable — no matter the season.

Save energy and money with these weatherization tips

In addition to the nonenergy benefits of home weatherization, you’ll undoubtedly save money on energy costs by improving your house’s energy efficiency throughout the year. If you’re unhappy with drafty rooms, cold floors or sweltering second floors, proper weatherization may permanently resolve the issues causing you discomfort.

To stay cozy and enjoy energy and money savings through every season, here are some simple home weatherization tips:

  • Air sealing: Seal drafty openings around your home’s moveable components, such as windows and doors, as well as stationary components, like floors, walls, ceilings and fireplaces, to save more than 20 percent on heating and cooling bills. Caulking and weatherstripping are low-cost ways to reduce air leaks and keep unwanted cold air out this time of year.
Better World Builders contractor performing a rim joist seal on the foundation of a house

Pro tip: Don’t overlook your rim joists — where your house’s wooden structures rest on the concrete foundation. This area commonly has gaps that allow unwanted air and critters to infiltrate. Sealing your rim joists can result in big energy savings for relatively little cost.

  • Insulation: Once air leaks are sealed, insulating your home from top to bottom will help provide a lasting comfort solution. Especially during the cold months, insulating your home is your best defense against unwanted heat loss, and is one of the most effective ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce heating bills. Consider starting with your attic to prevent warm air from escaping through your roof and your furnace from working overtime.

Pro tip: When choosing which type of insulation to use, always go for the higher R-value. This means it’s more resistant to heat flow and will have greater insulating power.

  • Moisture control: In addition to maximizing the effectiveness of your air sealing and insulation improvements, controlling the moisture in your home will prevent mold, rot and bacteria, and reduce heating and cooling costs. A whole-home energy audit can help you identify the best moisture control strategy, but good practices include using kitchen and bathroom fans to exhaust steam, installing storm windows and doors in winter and diverting groundwater from your home’s foundation.

Pro tip: Pairing sealing and insulation improvements ensure maximum protection of your home’s structure and surfaces.

How We Can Help

Michigan Saves offers best-in-class financing that can help you easily and affordably make these upgrades and other energy-efficiency measures in your home to stay protected throughout the year. Find an authorized Michigan Saves contractor in your area who performs whole-home energy assessments, or give us a call at 517-484-6474 or email info@michigansaves.org.