Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States of America. It was first created as a United States government program during the early 1990s, but Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union have also adopted the program. Devices carrying the Energy Star logo, such as computer products and peripherals, kitchen appliances, buildings and other products, generally use 20%–30% less energy than required by federal standards.

Sealing and insulating the “envelope” or “shell” of your home — its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors — is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. Energy Star estimates that a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating.

To Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR:

Seal air leaks throughout the home to stop drafts,

Add insulation to block heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.

Choose Energy Star qualified windows when replacing windows.

If your attic is accessible and you like home improvement projects, you can Do-It-Yourself with help from the DIY Guide to Sealing and Insulating with Energy Star. The Guide offers step-by-step instructions for sealing common air leaks and adding insulation to the attic.

You can also hire a contractor who will use special diagnostic tools to pinpoint and seal the hidden air leaks in your home. A Home Energy Rater can help you find contractors that offer air sealing services in Baxley or Jesup.

Sealing Leaks:

Many air leaks and drafts are easy to find because they are easy to feel — like those around windows and doors. But holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a great impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills. Click on the house diagram to see common air leak locations that you should aim to seal.

Homeowners are often concerned about sealing their house too tightly; however, this is very unlikely in most older homes, especially in Gwinnett, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, DeKalb, or Fulton County Georgia. A certain amount of fresh air is needed for good indoor air quality and there are specifications that set the minimum amount of fresh air needed for a house. If you are concerned about how tight your home is, hire a contractor, such as a Home Energy Rater, who can use diagnostic tools to measure your home’s actual leakage. If your home is too tight, a fresh air ventilation system may be recommended.

After any home sealing project, have a heating and cooling technician from Snellville Heating and Air in Gwinnett, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, DeKalb, or Fulton County Georgia check to make sure that your combustion appliances (gas- or oil-fired furnace, water heater, and dryer) are venting properly. For additional information on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues related to homes, such as combustion safety, visit EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Web site