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.
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.
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:
- Close all the windows and turn off your water heater.
- Turn on the kitchen and bathroom exhaust vents.
- Hold lit incense near the edges of the door.
- If the smoke wavers, there is a leak.
You can also use an infrared thermometer to look for any problem areas.
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:
- Climb onto the roof to inspect and clean off the vent.
- Remove the chimney cap.
- Measure all the sides of the opening and cut a piece of sheet metal to match the measurements.
- Apply a bead of rubber caulk around the chimney’s sides and top. Set the piece of metal on the chimney.
- Press it into the caulk.
- Replace the chimney cap and close the fireplace damper.
- Measure all sides of the chimney opening at the top of the fireplace.
- Cut a piece of foam insulation to match these measurements.
- Place foam inside the chimney.
- 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
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.