There are few things aggravating enough to sully our holiday spirits this time of year. One of them is the hike we see in our energy bills, an unwelcome expense when there’s so many more important things to buy. Gifts for loved ones, food for Christmas dinner, donations to charity, and other holiday expenditures seem like a much better—not to mention more fun and rewarding—use of funds. That’s why we’re using this week’s blog to outline the places around your home where you’re losing the most money and a couple of tips to keep your home toasty and your budget on track this winter.
Align Crooked Doors
One of the most common places heat is lost in a home is through misaligned doors. Even if it doesn’t affect the door’s functional operation, a slight misalignment can let cold air stream into your home unopposed. Check all the sides of your door for leaks by closing it and placing your hand about a half inch away from the cracks in the door. If you can feel cold air on your hand, your door is likely misaligned and increasing your energy bill.
If you’re losing air through the sides of your door, you may need to call in professionals to refit or realign your entryway, but a slight draft from underneath your door may have a simple fix. Try a draught excluder. They are used to cover any gaps between the bottom of a door and the floor to keep cold air at bay. You can buy one at a local hardware store or online, or you can use a DIY option like this one. The goal is simple: block the cold air coming in without hindering the mobility of the door.
Triple Check your Double-Panes
Inefficient windows are annoying when hot air comes in during the summer, but they become a nightmare when they lose hot air during the winter. If it seems like your house stays cold no matter how high you set your thermostat, your windows may be to blame. Homeowners with single-pane windows should upgrade to at least double-pane windows, if not triple, to stop the loss of warm air in the winter. You’ll recover this initial investment through lower energy bills in the years to come.
However, if you’re looking for an interim solution, try winterizing your windows with plastic! The Home Repair Tutor has an easy-to-follow DIY option we liked that recommends putting bubble wrap between the window and the plastic cover for extra insulation.
Fireplaces Causing a Chill
Still looking for the source of your heat loss? If you’ve got a wood-burning fireplace, it could be the culprit. In many homes, the damper used in a fireplace to help keep rain (and birds and other critters) out of your home may not be sealing correctly. Test it by closing the damper when the fireplace is not in use, lighting a small piece of paper on fire and placing it in the fireplace. If smoke goes up the chimney instead of out into the room, you’ve got an air leak in your damper. This can be fixed by replacing or repairing the damper, or you can purchase a flue sealer. These ingenious inventions are typically low-cost, inflatable items that you can install without professional assistance. Simply place it just below the damper, inflate it, and let it be. Just make sure your remember to remove it before you use the fireplace next time.
What’s in Your Walls?
The most common place to lose heat is also the one that’s hardest to fix: your walls. If you haven’t found any other sources of air leaks that could be causing your home’s cool environment, there’s a good chance that poor insulation in your walls is behind your problem. The only real way to mitigate this problem is by bringing in professionals to add more insulation to your home. While it may seem like a hassle, you’ll be grateful you fixed it when you get the next month’s energy bill. Note that poor insulation in your walls likely means poor insulation in your roof as well. You’ll want to look into your attic’s insulation situation if you want to keep the cold from creeping in.
Have a front door alignment issue you need fixed, or a hole in the roof that’s flooding your home with cold air? Call the experts at J-Tech Construction. We’re happy to help keep your home warm—and lower your energy bill—for the holidays.