Every Oct. 30, states across the country celebrate Weatherization Day through special events and by sharing information designed to recognize the importance of weatherization and weatherization providers such as state and local agencies, utilities and contractors. Weatherization is the process of making changes to your home, which include insulation, prime window and patio door replacements, Low-E storm windows, exterior insulated doors and air sealing — aimed at reducing unintended air leakage to improve the overall energy performance of a home.
The day presents an opportunity for homeowners to learn how to weatherize their homes effectively, including how to reduce the loss of heated or cooled air and how to improve indoor air quality and remove outdoor pollutants through filtration. Effective weatherization can help homeowners reduce energy bills and increase comfort within their home.
How BPA helps promote weatherization
BPA offers customer utilities an array of residential measures and marketing tools to help promote the value and benefit of energy efficiency, including weatherization through air sealing, insulation and improvements such as replacing windows and doors in single-family homes, manufactured homes and multifamily properties. Always check with the local utility to find out what incentives they offer for what housing types.
The Comfort Ready Home Program is a partnership between Northwest utilities and BPA that connects utilities, contractors and homeowners to make weatherization improvements. This program is free to participate in and offers contractors access to the Comfort Ready Home Learning Center, which provides them with tips for growing their businesses and technical trainings to help improve their knowledge and skill set.
Marketing materials are available through the program’s website to help contractors promote energy-efficiency improvements to potential customers and to help utilities maximize weatherization, HVAC and water heating improvements for existing customers. Homeowners can search for a contractor who can install products, which improve their home’s efficiency and comfort, and find useful information about energy efficiency improvements through the homeowners page.
BPA offers energy efficiency improvements to income-qualified Northwest residents through BPA customer utility programs and a Low-Income Energy-Efficiency Grant Program. Qualifying low-income residents benefit from lower utility bills, improved indoor air quality and comfort due to weatherization changes, HVAC improvements, upgraded water heating and more at little to no cost.
Grant funding opportunities for energy efficiency improvements are available to state and tribal governments that supplement the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program in BPA’s customer utility territory. A great resource for all of BPA’s low-income programs is the Low-Income New Opportunities Guide. A one-sheet summary of the guide is available in English and Spanish. Contact local utilities and community action agencies to learn more about available low-income incentives and offerings in the area.
Everyday tips for weatherizationThere are many ways for homeowners to weatherize their homes. Check out these tips for easy, low- or no-cost options to improve the energy efficiency and air quality of your homes without calling a contractor.
Replace Filters. Install a new furnace filter to improve indoor air quality and help your HVAC system work more efficiently and use less energy. Use the change schedule recommended by the filter manufacturer. If you have a ductless heat pump, be sure to clean it regularly per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Wrap your water heater. Insulation blankets help keep the water in your tank warm and reduce energy lost during the water-heating process. Uninsulated water heater tanks, or those valued at less than R-24, lose heat and are less efficient.
Install a door sweep. Add door sweeps to the bottom of exterior doors to provide a tight seal against drafts and keep out the cold and moisture.
Feel for air. Use a lit incense stick or smoke pencil to check for air leaks where plumbing, ducting or wiring come through walls or floors. Seal the leak with caulk or spray foam to keep unwanted drafts and moisture out of indoor spaces.
Take cover. Cover interior windows with insulating film as a quick alternative for keeping drafts and moisture at bay. Purchase the film from hardware stores or online, and easily install it using common household tools.
Seal your switches. Surprisingly, outlets and light switches on outside walls can be a source of unwanted drafts and heat loss. Inexpensive outlet and switch-sealing gaskets can improve weatherization and stop outside air infiltration.
Download these easy, low- or no-cost options to
weatherize your home for winter.
Contact your local utility for more information on how to weatherize your home for winter and to see what incentives may be available. More weatherization tips including seasonal tips focused on wildfire, smoke events and extreme heat are also available on Comfort Ready Home.
For more information on weatherization, email Amy Burke, Weatherization and Low-Income Program manager at email@example.com. Or email Rob Burr, Comfort Ready Home Program manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.