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  TYPICAL
IMPROVEMENTS

If you meet the income requirements and are approved for weatherization assistance services in Nebraska, your home will be evaluated to identify the most effective energy and dollar saving improvements which can be made. The amount of money that can be spent on each home is limited, so all of the improvements listed below may not be made in each home.

Possible Improvements
  • Add insulation to the attic, walls and/or floors. If insulation is added, holes may be drilled in the siding and vents may be added to the roof. RESULT: The amount of heat loss through the walls, ceilings and floors will be reduced.
  • Perform an efficiency inspection on natural gas, propane and fuel oil furnaces, boilers and water heaters. RESULT: More heat will be gained from the same amount of fuel used.
  • Replace broken glass in primary windows. RESULT: The amount of cold air coming in will be reduced.
  • Install or adjust door weatherstripping, thresholds, and/or door sweeps. RESULT: The amount of cold air coming in will be reduced.
After the improvements are made, you should notice the following:
  • An increase in comfort — reduced drafts and a more even temperature throughout your home.
  • Your heating and cooling bills should be reduced.
  • You should need less energy to heat and cool your home.

Weatherization: What to Expect
Many weatherization service providers utilize "whole house weatherization." Under this approach, providers evaluate the house as a single energy-consuming system, rather than a loose collection of unrelated systems. This approach finds the best combination of methods for reducing total energy consumption in a house.

The first step in whole-house weatherization, and perhaps most important one, is to evaluate a house. Trained technicians use advanced computer software and diagnostic equipment to identify the most cost-effective energy-saving improvements for a particular home during an energy audit.

Air Leakage Control
Reducing the leakage of cold outside air into the house in winter — or hot outside air in the summer — is the most common type of weatherization improvement made in a home. Typically, work crews add caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce drafts. Old, drafty homes are not only uncomfortable, but they are also very costly to heat and cool.

Tests using blower doors reveal more precisely the holes in the building envelope where outside air infiltrates into the house. Such holes often occur near the base of the building and near the roof and are unobservable to the naked eye.

Blower Door
The blower door is one of many tools that is used to assess a home for health, safety, durability and energy efficiency. With the assistance of a blower door, air leakage tests are conducted to measure and quantify the air tightness of a house. The blower door will depressurize the house, sending air out through a fan and bringing air in from leaks in the building’s exterior.

With the readings from the gauges and house volume calculations, how well a home is ventilated can be determined. At this point, technicians walk around and look for the leaks in the building envelope. Sealing leaks to the exterior of the home — and blower door testing after the leaks have been sealed — will quantify the results and assess the need for additional sealing.

Insulation
Making sure there is enough insulation in the walls, foundation and roof — anywhere there is a barrier between the home and the outside — is one of the most important ways to make a home energy efficient. As a result, insulation is a part of almost every weatherization project.

Installing insulation with a uniform coverage and density is very important because the wall cavities are like chimneys. Air leakage can greatly reduce insulation’s thermal performance. The installer must inspect walls for structural soundness of the home before any insulation is added.

Heating Efficiency Improvements
In some cases, furnaces may be replaced because of cracked heat exchangers or severe malfunction. Removing such hazards from homes reduces fires, injuries and health problems for occupants.

A safety inspection of the heating system is performed first, including:

  • Test for carbon monoxide in the air in the living space and in the combustion appliance zone.
  • Check for fuel leaks using a combustible gas detector.
  • Inspect the wiring to the appliance.
  • Check the vent connections and clearances.
  • Inspect for safety devices

A combustion test is performed to collect information on safety and efficiency. The system is also tested to make sure it does not backdraft in adverse conditions, such as when all the ventilation fans are operating in the house. Fans can have an impact on the how well a heating system vents.

Improving Health and Safety
Weatherization work crews always examine energy-related health and safety issues in the home. This is especially important when dealing with heating equipment because faulty equipment can be hazardous to those who live there.

Client Education
An important component of the weatherization process is client education. Client lifestyle choices can play a big role in determining the amount of energy and money actually saved. Clients are provided with tips on saving energy and information on how to maintain the energy efficiency improvements that have been made.
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