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An energy-saving cold-weather house

Here's a list of 10 design and construction details to shop for when buying a house in the North.

In the market for a new house in the northern United States or Canada?

Experts with the U.S. Department of Energy's Building America program suggest that you look for the following design and construction features to make sure that your home uses energy efficiently:

An energy saving cold-weather house

  1. Efficient Windows:
    help to control and reduce ultraviolet light that can fade carpets and furniture, helping to keep your belongings looking like new and keeping window areas more comfortable to sit near. Window flashing protects against water leaks.
  2. Compact and Tightly Sealed Duct Runs:
    Shorter runs and fewer air leaks allow air to go where it is intended, with fewer contaminants like humidity and dust from attics or crawlspaces. Leaky ducts are a major contributor to mold problems. Return air paths ensure balanced air pressure for less drafts and more balanced temperatures throughout the house. Put ducts in conditioned space, where possible.
  3. Right-Sized and High-Efficiency HVAC Equipment:
    Properly sized HVAC equipment costs less to install than bigger equipment, saves energy, and is designed to comfortably handle heating and cooling loads.
  4. Ventilation:
    Eexhaust fans remove moisture and pollutants. A controlled, filtered air intake ensures plenty of fresh air. A fresh air intake is recommended.
  5. Sealed Combustion Appliances:
    Sealed combustion appliances cut moisture buildup and ensure the removal of combustion gases. Stay away from non-vented combustion appliances such as non-vented fireplaces or heaters.
  6. Properly-Sized Overhangs:
    Ovehangs provide shade in summer, but allow sunlight in during winter.
  7. Insulation:
    Insulation holds comfortable temperatures in conditioned spaces and helps control noise.
  8. Air Sealing:
    Air sealing stops drafs, helps keep humidity and garage contaminants out of the house, and creates a barrier to rodents and insects.
  9. Well-Designed Moisture Barriers and Drainage Pathways:
    Moisture barriers and drainage pathways guard against expensive structural damage and help stop humidity, mold, and mildew.
  10. Eaves:
    Careful attention to insulation and air sealing helps to avoid ice dams.

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