Our series “Getting Energy Ready for Winter” will help you evaluate your home as cold weather approaches. Here is a reminder of a few simple ways to make your home more comfortable and it can help your heating bills in the long run.
Check for Leaks
- Weather-stripping and caulking is probably the least expensive, simplest, most effective way to cut down on energy waste in the winter. Improperly sealed homes can waste 10 to 15 percent of the homeowner’s heating dollars. Notice if there are any leaks or draft around doors and windows. Weather-stripping and caulking any holes you see can prevent heat to escape. Make sure doors seal properly.
2. If your windows leak really badly, consider replacing them with newer, more efficient ones. Although more expensive and having to wait to reap benefits of energy savings the new windows also provide other benefits, such as improved appearance and comfort.
3. Check duct, wire or pipes that penetrate the wall or ceiling or floor. As with leaky doors and windows, this has the potential to waste energy. Plumbing vents can be especially bad, since they begin below the floor and go all the way through the roof. Seal them all with caulking or weather-stripping.
4. Don’t forget to close the damper on your fireplace. Of course the damper needs to be open if a fire is burning; but if the damper is open when you’re not using the fireplace, your chimney functions as a large open window that draws warm air out of the room and creates a draft. Close that damper – it’s an effective energy-saving tip that costs you nothing!
5. Examine your house’s heating ducts for leaks. Think of your ductwork as huge hoses, bringing hot air instead of water into your house. Mostly out of sight, ducts can leak for years without you knowing it. They can become torn or crushed and flattened. Old duct tape – the worse thing to use to seal ductwork, by the way – will dry up and fall away over time, allowing junctions and splices to open, spilling heated air into your attic or under the house. It’s wasteful. According to field research performed by the California Energy Commission, you can save roughly 10 percent of your heating bill by preventing leaky ducts.