Energy Efficiency in the Attic, Garage, and Basement

You've done all the obvious things to make your house energy-efficient for the hot summer: bought a new ENERGY STAR gas stove, sealed the leaky fridge door, cleaned your air conditioner's filters.

But you have this sneaking feeling that the less central parts of your house might not be up to snuff.

What kinds of inefficiencies might be lurking in the attic, the garage, and the basement? Turns out you're right to worry; there is plenty to do in these spaces. Give your attention to the following list.

Attic:

  • Since it's likely you'll find the house's biggest air leaks here, look for holes, rips, and tears in ducts and seal the leaks with mastic or metal tape.
  • Check around the chimney, plumbing stacks, vents, and electrical wires for gaps and leaks, then cover any small holes with metal flashing and caulk, and seal larger gaps with spray foam.
  • Insulate the attic door or hatch with weatherizing materials and insulation or with a pre-made attic cover.
  • Upgrade all the insulation in your attic, as this could make your attic considerably more energy-efficient.

Garage:

  • To stop a common source of garage leaks, seal the edges of garage doors with thick, durable weather-stripping.
  • Keep the door between the house and the garage closed as much as possible, make sure the bottom of the door fits snuggly against the floor, and use fiberglass duct wrap to insulate the inside of the door.
  • Take the light bulbs out of your garage door opener and replace the light switch on the wall with a motion sensor to make the lighting more efficient.
  • For overhead lighting, install four-foot fluorescent light fixtures with reflective backing.

Basement:

  • Insulate your basement walls and the water heater, ducts, and hot water pipes that are apparently in your unheated basement with duct wrap insulation or batts and duct tape.
  • Insulate the floor over the basement, as this could result in significant energy savings.
  • Check for leaks by seeking out spider webs, which are only found where there are drafts.
  • Consider getting rid of the extra fridge/freezer you keep in the basement.

Taking on the task of properly insulating and outfitting your house's storage spaces is one of the best things you can do to put your home on energy-efficient footing. The planet - and your wallet - will thank you this summer.