People are becoming much more conscious of how energy efficient their homes are. It’s a combination of environmental awareness, and most people just want to save money on their utility bills. Aside from having an HVAC system that is in top shape and running efficiently, there are other things homeowners can do to lower their monthly bills. And now that the cold weather is here, it’s even more important to stay on top of how efficient your house really is.
There’s one common problem many houses have that contributes greatly to decreased efficiency: drafty doors and windows. This means that the areas around the doors and windows aren’t sealed properly, letting cold air in and making your furnace work harder to keep you warm.
Luckily, air leaks are pretty easy to detect. Here are a few simple methods you can use to see if cold air is sneaking in on you.
Take a walk around your house, starting on the outside. Carefully examine the caulking between the door/window frame and the siding. If the caulking looks old and crumbling, you’ll probably see a gap where cold air can get in.
Likewise, inside your house, look under each door. If you see daylight, then you have an air leak. Check the weather stripping around the windows to see what condition it’s in. You can even run your hand around the perimeter of the window to see if you feel any obvious air leaks.
Smoke leaks out
Sometimes the air leaks are too small to notice by visual inspection or feeling alone. But a smoke test is a clever way to find those drafty areas. Start by closing all your doors and windows, turn off the water heater and furnace and turn on all bathroom and kitchen vents. This will create negative pressure in your home.
Next, without burning yourself, light an incense stick and slowly move it around your doors and windows while the smoke is wafting into the air. When you come across a leak the smoke will be drawn in towards the inside of your home as the cold air comes in. If the smoke remains stable, then that area is properly sealed.
High tech tools
If you’re a techie and like gadgets, then you’ll love this method. Buy an infrared thermometer. These nifty devices can measure the temperature around your doors and windows. If there’s a cold spot from a draft, the thermometer will register a colder temperature than the surrounding area.
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