As the temperature drops, your energy costs can rise. Even the smallest of drafts can cause your home’s energy efficiency to drop. That’s why it’s so important to be proactive in preventing these issues. By taking care of drafts and air leaks now, you’ll stay comfortable and prevent future maintenance issues while saving potentially hundreds of dollars in wasted energy.
Drafts can come from many places in the home. On average 10-25 percent of home’s heat escapes through its windows. For those looking for a long term solution, your have a few options to consider here. There are many projects that could help increase the efficiency from reglazing your windows (an option for those with historic or wooden windows), replacing your windows, or adding storm windows, all of which can significantly improve the heating and cooling of your home. Many of these solutions may seem time consuming and can be expensive but will help you in the long run.
For temporary and budget friendly options, weather stripping and adding plastic shrink film can be viable options for some homes. These can be applied seasonally as needed and in most cases can be installed by the homeowner themselves in the matter of an afternoon.
Another common culprit are exterior doors. A weather stripping kit can be purchased and applied that will significantly improve those drafts. A more permanent option would be adding an efficient storm door that would help seal the entrance. Depending on your home and your skill level, this could even be installed yourself.
Still experiencing leaks? Look up! If you have recessed lights that vent into an attic, that is a direct route for your air to escape. Between all of your fixtures you have a lot of little leaks that can add up. Take a closer look at the label next to the bulb in those recessed lights. If the light is labeled “ICAT” that stands for “insulation contact and air tight.” If you don’t see this, you should assume yours leaks. To fix this you can easily install an airtight baffle ($8 to $30 at your local hardware store).
Still concentrating on the attic, make sure that the access door is either closing tightly or weatherstripped to ensure zero leaks. This can be done through the installation of foam weatherstripping around the entrance or you can place a pre-insulated hatch cover kit to the door.
Last but not least don’t forget the basement. In most older homes, air can creep in through the foundation. If your basement is unfinished, you may want to seal the seam between the foundation and where the building material meet. This can be done by adding a bead of caulk to the seam. You’ll also want to ensure that all your basement’s windows are efficiently installed. Remember, any gaps or seams above ground level have the potential to draft and should be checked out.
Hopefully this gives you some great tips on staying warm in the winter and beating the heat in the summer. Check back for more helpful tips!