Do you have door weatherstripping that has been chewed off by a puppy? Do you have windows that don't seal completely? Perhaps you have holes going from the outside to the inside of your house from old pipes or wiring? If so, money is slipping out of your house!
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating our homes accounts for 42% of our utility bills. If you're heating the outside this winter, you'll be losing money!
The U.S. Department of Energy has recently released a wonderful resource, Energy Saver: Tips on Saving Money & Energy at Home. They list the following tips to seal air leaks in your home:
- "Test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, carefully hold a lit incense stick or a smoke pen next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other places where air may leak. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.
- Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
- Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
- Inspect dirty spots in your insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
- Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
- Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane low-emissivity windows.
- Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
- Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
- Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
- Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
- Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
- Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk."
Use the above tips as a checklist for yourself. What do you need to do to prepare your home for the winter cold? The clock's ticking – winter will be here before you know it! Don't let your money escape through air leaks.
For more details and tips about saving energy on heating costs this winter, download for free Energy Saver: Tips on Saving Money & Energy at Home.