Cold drafts aren’t only bad for your comfort, they’re also bad for your wallet. Sealing drafts is an important step to reducing your heating bills and keeping your family comfortable. In fact, heating is the largest energy expenditure for you home, so it only makes sense to keep your house as well-insulated and draft-free as possible.
How To Find Drafts In Your Home
Before you can save money by fixing any drafts, you’ve got to find them first. How?
Use an infrared camera.
These devices measure temperatures throughout your house, so you can see where heat may be escaping. While the cameras are relatively easy to use, it takes a professional eye to interpret the evidence. A specialized heating technician will provide a step-by-step plan tailored to your needs.
Check common “draft” areas.
Some places are prime targets for drafts. These include:
- Doors and windows
- Plumbing vents
- Electrical outlets
- Wiring holds
- Recessed lighting
- Furnace flues
Look for old or dirty insulation in your attic.
Dirty insulation means that air is be moving through it, causing the insulation to collect dust and dirt. During colder months, look for frosty areas where moist air has condensed and frozen. In the summer, look for water stains or even small spots of standing water.
Ask for an energy audit.
Many local utility companies offer energy audits to help you be more energy efficient. This includes checking your home for drafts. Often, these services are free or at minimal cost.
Fixing The Drafts In Your Home
Okay, you’ve found the problem areas in your home. What’s the best way to fix them? That depends upon the source of the draft.
- Seal of approval
Caulk, weather stripping or expanding foam can seal cracks around doors, windows and insulation. (Just be sure not to get the expanding foam on your clothes—it’s sticky and almost impossible to get out!) Remember that plugging the biggest holes will provide the greatest savings.
- Check your flue!
There’s nothing quite like a fireplace, but as far as energy efficiency, they can be a huge source of drafts. Make sure your flue and damper are working properly. If there are leaks around them, there are several regulations regarding what material should be used. It’s best to leave these repairs to the experts.
- Make a draft stopper
They’re cute, they’re easy to make, and they can help you save money. These simple, cloth energy-savers—sometimes called draft snakes or draft dodgers—have been around for ages. There are several charming patterns that can make them particularly appealing to children. Creating one can also be a fun family project if the cold weather has the kids stuck indoors. All you need is a long piece of fabric, such as a knee sock, that fits the area under the door or the windowsill. You can fill them with stuffing or dry rice. Step-by-step guidelines online will easily take you through the process.
Sometimes, saving money on your heating bill can be as simple as stopping air leaks. A few easy steps and the advice of professionals can keep your home nice and warm during winter months. Your family, and your wallet, will thank you.
Betcha didn’t know that!