Heat is one of the more expensive utilities we pay – especially in the great Northeast with our frigid temperatures!  There are a few things you can do at home to help seal air leaks and reduce your heating costs since having multiple small leaks in your home, such as around electrical outlets or the dryer vent can bring in as much cold air as if you had a window wide open!

Consider an Energy Audit

If you aren’t sure where the air leaks in your home are, you can have an energy audit completed.  The auditors have tools to find air leaks and can offer suggestions for improving your home and reducing your heat bill.

Tricks to Find the Leaks

The US Department of Energy has a number of tricks you can use on your own to see if air is leaking in or out of your home.  They recommend the following:

Stand outside and shine a light at the window sill that you are checking for leaks.  Have someone else stand on the inside of the window.  If they can see the beam of light coming in around the window (not through the glass) then hot air can leak out of your home and cold air can find its way in.

Get a piece of paper and shut the window on it.  If you can pull the paper out without opening the window (and without ripping the paper!) you are losing air.  Do the same thing in a doorway.

Light a candle and stand near your light fixtures, windows, doors, or electrical outlets.  If the smoke stops going straight up and starts moving horizontally, you have air leaking.

Stop Losing Your Warm Air and Wasting Money

Here are a few suggestions for inexpensive fixes to reduce the amount of warm air lost in your home, but for big leaks you may want to consider home renovation for energy efficiency.

For electrical outlets on the outer walls of your home, you can install outlet gaskets to prevent warm air from getting out and keep the cold air from coming in.

Seal up your windows with new caulk around the window frames.  You can use either a caulk gun or rope caulk to fill in the gaps.  Use temporary and removable weather stripping along any movable areas of the window.  You can also use a plastic insulating product to completely cover your windows - you use a hair dryer to shrink them right on the windows to help reduce leaks.

Pick up door sweeps from the hardware store and add them to all exterior doors in your home where cold air could come in.

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