How to Save Money by Sealing Leaks and Drafts in Your Home
Over time, every home is subject to the ravages of age, which means settling, leaning, and general deterioration are bound to cause problems eventually. Although you can certainly take steps to maintain your home with regular inspections and repairs, there’s not much you can do to combat the effects of gravity on your structure. The point is that you may at some point discover that your once-perfect home now has doors that creak and seals that leak thanks to the swelling and shrinking of wood as temperatures fluctuate, the deterioration of building materials, and the crushing force of gravity, just for example. And when your bought air is escaping through the cracks, the occurrence is likely to show up on your energy bill as you fiddle with the thermostat in an attempt to regulate your interior temperature. So if you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient and save some money in the process, here are a few tactics you may want to employ.
The first thing you should do is hire a home energy auditor. You can find this professional by calling your local power provider. If they don’t offer the service they can at least help you to contact vendors in your area. And you’ll find that the service, while potentially pricy, is well worth the expense. Actually, you can do some of the tests on your own (just look for online tutorials). But lacking the expertise and specialized equipment that a home energy auditor brings to the game, the truth is that you’re not going to be nearly as effective. And since your goal is to make your home as energy efficient as possible in order to maximize savings, it could be worth spending a little up front to make it happen. A professional auditor will run a slew of tests in order to assess your home from top to bottom before delivering a comprehensive report that tells you exactly where problem areas exist.
From there you can start to seal up the leaks. The most common points of egress are generally around doors and windows. But for the most part, some inexpensive weather stripping will fix any gaps that may have grown over time. Of course, the windows themselves might be substandard. If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures and inclement weather, single-paned glass is not your best option for energy efficiency. But rather than spending a boatload of cash on double- or triple-paned options, you might want to go for less expensive storm windows or even create your own makeshift stand-ins with wooden frames and neoprene if your budget is really tight this year.
The report will also tell you where leaks are occurring around vents, pipes, ductwork, and so on, and these can generally be sealed with some kind of foam product or caulk, in most cases. Of course, your insulation may also be a problem. If your home is older, the insulation might be substandard, outdated, or severely deteriorated. In this case, adding some batting or fill could dramatically increase the energy efficiency of your home, helping to stabilize the interior temperature even while lowering your utility bills. Later on you can learn to service your HVAC system, complete with tutorials on how to clean evaporator coils and change filters, but a good place to start if you want an energy efficient home is by sealing up drafts and leaks.