When that chilly time of year rolls around, homeowners begin closing up windows and shutting doors to keep warm air inside. Unfortunately, you might have leaks and insufficient insulation that are allowing that hot air to escape, forcing your heating system to work harder and costing you more money. There are ways to easily detect and resolve these issues to reduce the amount of energy you use this year.
Check Your Insulation
The U.S. Department of Energy has recommended certain insulation depths for all new homes. That rating changes often. Odds are that even if you have a home that has been built in the last few years, your attic may not be sufficiently lined. Look up what the recommended ratings are for your home in your climate and compare that to what you have, adding more insulation if necessary. If you are not sure, call a professional for help. Insulation specialists can also retroactively insulate your exterior walls to lock in heat during cooler temperatures.
Detecting Air Leaks
Some leaks are easy to spot. For example, windows and doors may usher in drafts even when closed. Other spots are not so obvious. You can conduct an inspection of the exterior of your home to examine areas where two types of building materials come together. Common spots for leaks include:
- Water faucets that are outdoors
- Spots along the foundation where the siding or brick meets the cement
- Edges where siding and chimneys meet
- Any corners of the home
Inside the house, you might find cracks or gaps along switch plates, electrical outlets and door or window frames. If you are unsure of how to detect a leak, you can hire a professional to do a through inspection and energy assessment.
Once you know where all the leaks are, you can start to seal them using the appropriate measures. For example, if you notice drafts coming in through the doors, you can use weather-stripping or caulk. You can also use extra insulation around potential leaks in the attic and around piping.
Inspect Your Fireplace and Lighting Fixtures
The light-emitting diode (LED) is one of today’s most energy-efficient and quickly emerging lighting technologies. Quality LED light bulbs have a longer life, are more durable, and offer comparable and/or better light quality than other types of lighting. DirectBuy offers thousands of lamps, wall lights, landscape lights, chandeliers, and more that can help keep lighting costs down.
Your chimney is essentially a large vent leading outdoors. If your damper is not closed when the fireplace is not in use, you are losing precious warm heat. If you simply never use the fireplace, you can plug and seal the flue to ensure there are no leaks.
When you have a fire going, you can minimize the amount of heat you lose by opening the dampers in the bottom of the firebox, if you have one. You can also close all the doors leading into the room with the fireplace and lower your thermostat to 55 degrees.
Have Your HVAC Inspected
When is the last time a professional inspected your heating and cooling system? The air pumping through your home relies on clean vents and a properly functioning system; otherwise you are spending much more on your energy than necessary. Before every fall or winter, you should have a specialist run an efficiency test and check the condition of your vents.
Your home’s ventilation plays a key role not only in keeping you comfortable but also on how your utility bills look every month. Following these tips will make for a warmer and more affordable home this winter.