5 Sources of Energy Leaks in Your Home

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energy leaks at home

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Energy-efficient homes have become a common trend. To ensure your house isn’t wasting any power, you should check for leaks to keep it — and your money — from going out the window.

Conserving energy helps save you money on your heating and cooling bills, and it also makes your home more comfortable to live in. Plus, a more energy-efficient home has a higher resale value. Of course, in addition to all the economic benefits, it also helps the environment — the biggest and most positive impact your decision could have on the world.

Since energy-efficient homes can be financially and environmentally beneficial, you want to identify any sources of leaks. Here are some of the common household features that waste energy. 


1. Windows

sources of energy leaks at home - windows

Improperly fitted or sealed windows allow air to leak out. About one-third of your home’s heat loss is from windows and doors. In the winter months, cold drafts can cause you to crank up the heat and consume more energy. 

You can always replace your windows. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider caulking or weatherstripping instead. Use caulk to seal small gaps around the frame. For more significant gaps, try a can of foam spray. 

Also, you can look into installing storm windows. These can be fitted onto your current window and are made from plastic sheets or glass.


2. Doors

Air can slip through the space at the bottom of your doors. Even when you have all your windows shut, air is still leaving your home. Weatherstripping your doors can seal any leaks. To save up to 10%-20% on energy usage, try patching cracks or replacing broken seals. 

Do a visual inspection first. Look for any large openings or damaged weather strips, and then conduct a smoke test. 

Here are the steps to take when performing the test:

  1. Close all the windows and turn off your water heater.
  2. Turn on the kitchen and bathroom exhaust vents.
  3. Hold lit incense near the edges of the door.
  4. If the smoke wavers, there is a leak.

You can also use an infrared thermometer to look for any problem areas. 


3. Chimney

chimney energy leak

Your fireplace can keep you nice and toasty in the winter. However, the warm air is pulled up the chimney and leaked outside. This process ends up drawing in more air. An open chimney can account for 70% of heat loss within the room. When you aren’t using your fireplace, consider sealing off your chimney’s opening to conserve energy. 

Here are the steps to closing off your unused chimney:

  1. Climb onto the roof to inspect and clean off the vent. 
  2. Remove the chimney cap.
  3. Measure all the sides of the opening and cut a piece of sheet metal to match the measurements. 
  4. Apply a bead of rubber caulk around the chimney’s sides and top. Set the piece of metal on the chimney.
  5. Press it into the caulk.
  6. Replace the chimney cap and close the fireplace damper.
  7. Measure all sides of the chimney opening at the top of the fireplace.
  8. Cut a piece of foam insulation to match these measurements.
  9. Place foam inside the chimney.
  10. Apply rubber caulking around the insulation.


4. Air Ducts 

Your air ducts help carry air from your heater throughout your house. If they’re not adequately sealed or insulated, heat can escape before it reaches the intended room. This wastes energy and can unevenly heat or cool your space. 

You have two options to ensure your ducts are sealed and prevent energy leaks. Either do it yourself using tape, mastic and insulation, or hire a professional who will use a liquid rubber sealant.


5. Electrical Outlets

energy leaks at home - power outlet

The wires connected to your outlet come through holes drilled in the top and bottom of your walls where air can leak out. Even if they are sealed, air can still escape from the gap between the top plate and ceiling wall. Consider using foam insulation to prevent these leaks. 


Common Places in Your Home Leaking Energy  

Energy efficiency helps to keep your expenses down and provides you with a more comfortable living space. However, you might not even realize how much power escapes daily. Proper sealing and insulation can help prevent energy leaks. Consider checking these places around your home to reduce energy waste. 

  • Evelyn Long

    Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated, a magazine for home improvement and sustainability resources. Her writing on green building has been published by Earth 911 and the Environmental Magazine. For more articles from Evelyn, you can follow her on Twitter at @renovatedmag.

7 thoughts on “5 Sources of Energy Leaks in Your Home”

  1. Thank you for posting such an informative article! I would also add such sources as an attic and external pipes. As for the attic insulation, yes, it may seem cost-consuming, but it’s worth the investment. The fact is, it can reduce your bills from 5 to 30%!

  2. I’m happy to see that energy efficiency is something that people pay attention to these days. After all, everything is getting more expensive, including electricity and fuel, and the environmental condition requires a more conscious approach. Thanks for sharing such helpful info!

  3. Good post! By the way, improperly sealed windows can make your utility bills 30% higher. So, changing old and low-quality windows with new durable ones is always a great investment that will definitely pay off.

  4. An inefficient air conditioner can also be a source of energy leaks in your home. You can improve its efficiency by implementing regular maintenance, replacing air filters, and insulating your home properly.

  5. Thank you for mentioning air ducts! Air duct insolation is a job that people often overlook. Or just ignore it. However, it’s essential to do this because leaky ducts account for 25 to 40 percent of all lost air.


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