One of the biggest expenses for homeowners during the winter months is the cost of keeping warm. The average home in the U.S. will spend $679 for heating and that cost is expected to continue to rise. Regardless of how you heat your home, the goal should be to keep the warm air in, and the cold air out. Despite heating costs, many do not take the relatively simple steps to winterize their homes by finding and fixing these air leaks.
Finding Air Leaks In Your Home
Before you can winterize your home and solve the problem of air leaks, first you need to find them. One way is to hire a home energy professional that can perform an audit on your home. Using technology such as blower door testing and good ole’ fashioned know how, these home experts and quickly identify areas of your home that are allowing warm air to escape.
But hiring a home energy professional may not be an option for everyone. One “do it yourself” method is to use a lit incense stick to find areas where air is passing through exterior walls. Seeing the smoke from the incense move as you hold it near a window, doorway or even electrical outlets, is a pretty good indicator of an air leak. Just be sure to take precautions to not burn your house down in the process.
Some of the most common areas to find air leaks in your home are:
- Electrical Outlets
- Attic Accesses
- Utility Entrance Points
Winterize By Fixing Air Leaks In Your Home
Once you have identified where the air leaks are, in most cases it is easy to fix them. A quick trip to the hardware or home improvement store can result in saving hundreds of dollars on heating over the course of winter. Below are a few way to winterize these areas your home and stop the cold air.
Windows – Obviously if you are able to replace your windows with energy-efficient ones, that is the best bet. But for most that isn’t an option. Simply caulking around the outside and inside of the window frame can make a big difference. Also, window sealing kits can be used to add a layer of insulating air that can reduce the leakage from older, poorly sealed windows.
Doorways – Taking time to install or replace the weather-stripping around doors is a very quick way to seal them up. Foam rubber places along the sides and top of a doorway can seamlessly reduce and prevent airflow. Replacing the seal along the threshold also stops warm air from escaping.
Electrical Outlets – You may be surprised how drafty electrical outlets can be. But with some very easy to install outlet seals, you can quickly prevent air from passing through these energy stealing openings in your walls.
Attic Accesses – Most homes have an attic access panel. While you many have plenty of insulation in your attic, many times these openings are not sealed very well. Installing some simple weather-stripping around the inside of the opening can seal them up easily. Also, gluing some insulation to the back of the panel can help as well.
Utility Entrance Points – Electrical lines, air conditioner systems, natural gas pipes and even cables for tv all have to enter the house from the outside somewhere. Many times these come in through a hole or opening just above the foundation of a house. Taking a quick look around the outside of your home and make sure there aren’t any gaps around these entrance points. Seal them up with a piece of insulation or foam to prevent air flow.
By taking a little time to winterize your home and seal up these areas, you will not only be saving on winter heating costs, you will be able to be more comfortable in your home.