WEATHERIZE YOUR HOME!
NEW REBATES TO SEAL YOUR HOME!
Most homes in Truckee are “leaky”, especially if they were built prior to the 1980s. This means that heat escapes outside through cracks in the winter, and smoke pollutes indoor air in the summer. Home leakage gobbles up energy bills and threatens your health. Luckily, you can do something about it!
The Town and the Truckee Donner Public Utility District are excited to offer money back to residents who test the leakiness of their homes and make improvements. This is called “weatherization,” which when properly done can reduce energy bills up to 30%.
What is Weatherization?
Weatherization means reducing the amount of building leakage. This can be done by sealing cracks around windows, doors, fireplaces, ducts and other spaces where air can find a pathway from outside to inside. Installing efficient windows is also a weatherization strategy.
Reduce Energy Bills:
When your home is not properly weatherized, heat can escape through cracks and cause your heating system to work harder to keep up. This means wasted money on energy bills. Properly sealing your home could save you up to 30% on energy bills.
You can see the duct on the right has a gaping hole where warm air is escaping! Sealing this crack is easy and could reduce duct leakage by half.
Keep Smoke Out of Your Home:
This year, Truckee experienced hazardous levels of smoke for the third year in a row. Wildfire smoke is harmful to human health, and researchers have linked wildfire smoke exposure to increased rates of lung cancer and brain tumors. With the increasing prevalence and intensity of wildfire smoke in the Truckee region, it is more important than ever to protect your home’s air quality. Pairing weatherization measures with use of an air purifier will ensure that your home air stays pure.
How Do I Weatherize?
- Test for leakage. This can be done with a specialist called a HERs rater or BPI specialist, who will conduct a blower door test to determine how leaky your home is. They can also perform tests on your ducts to identify duct leakages. Your specialist can then provide you with recommendations for how to weatherize. Please note, you will need to test again after completing weatherization improvements to determine the effectiveness of the measures and to qualify for rebates. Though the Town does not endorse or recommend specific contractors and is not liable for any damages that may occur using one of the listed contractors, a list of HERS raters serving the area is provided below.
- Your energy auditor will recommend measures based on your audit. It may be possible to complete some of the simple improvements yourself. Otherwise, you will need to hire a contractor for the more complicated ones. Improvements may include:
- Weather seal leaky doors and windows. Window and door drafts make your home uncomfortable and cause your HVAC system to work harder. Usually, window and door sealing is a simple DIY project. You can simply apply adhesive barrier tape around window and door frames to fill the taps that are letting outside air through. For doors with large bottom gaps, you can attach a door sweep
- Seal your HVAC ducts. Over time, the ducts that deliver heated and cooled air into your indoor spaces can develop leaks, resulting in lower efficiency and higher utility bills. Home renovations can also lead to damage. If you have easy access to your ducts and are willing to DIY, duct sealant can fix any leaks that have developed. Most HVAC contractors also provide sealing services – if you’d rather not DIY, call your contractor and ask for a quote.
- Insulate and seal attic spaces. Though the TDPUD does not currently offer rebates for insulation, this is ultimately a very important component of weatherization. Insulation is measured in terms of R-value; the higher the number, the better its insulating properties. If you have a home that was constructed prior to the 1980s, you may only have R11 or R18 insulation, whereas it is recommended to have at least R60 in this climate. The Inflation Reduction Act will provide rebates for insulation beginning in late 2023.
- Install external storm windows or solar screens (or upgrade windows). If you have single pane windows, installing low-E storm windows can provide enormous energy savings at a fraction of the cost of replacing single panes with modern double- or triple-pane windows. Low-E windows are typically installed externally, mounting to the frame outside the existing window. They provide nearly as much insulating performance as double-pane low-E windows for far lower investment of time, money and labor. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found through testing that low-E storm windows can achieve 10-15% energy savings over uninsulated single and double pane glass. The Department of Energy estimates these savings can be as high as 30%.
Liberty Utilities and the the TDPUD (coming soon) also offer free, basic energy audits that assess your home’s energy efficiency potential more broadly. These will not specifically test your home’s leakage, but they are a useful (and free) starting point. If you want to get started on your own, you can check out TDPUDs DIY home energy audit guide.
For DIY improvements, there are many online resources available for cheap, simple ways to test and weatherize your home. Check out the tips below to get started. If you test with a professional but complete the weatherization improvements on your own, make sure to keep your materials receipts to claim your rebates!
Do I Quality for FREE Weatherization Improvements?
Southwest Gas’s Energy Assistance Program offers free, money-saving home improvements to increase home energy efficiency, including caulking, insulation, weatherstripping, ductwork repairs, and window repairs. Residents may either income-qualify, or qualify through participation in any of the following programs:
- Medicaid/Medi-Cal or Medi-Cal for Families A&B
- Supplemental Security Income
- CalFresh/SNAP (Food stamps)
- Head Start Income Eligible (tribal only)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Woman, Infants and Children (WIC)
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- CalWORKS (TANF) or Tribal TANF
What Rebates are Available?
Below are the rebate amounts currently available through the TDPUD.
|Measure Name||Rebate Amount|
|Building Envelope Air Leak Test ||$200|
|Central System Duct Leakage Test ||$200|
|Building Envelope Air Leakage Mitigation ||50% up to $500|
|Central Air Distribution System Duct Mitigation||50% up to $500|
|Efficient Windows ||$3.5 per sq. ft.|
|Air purifier||$50 for 150 CADR +|
We are happy to answer your questions about this process. Please contact Sara Sherburne, Sustainability Program Analyst at the Town of Truckee at email@example.com or call (530)582-5329.