Home Energy Efficiency: Quick and Easy

Chances are, in most homes if you add together all the leaks and cracks you'll end up with a hole the size of a medicine ball! Air leaks can attest to 20-40% of heat loss during the winter and cool loss in the summer. If you're looking for a good, and inexpensive place to start your home energy audit- then begin with a hunt for these hidden energy drains.

The good news is that insulating, weatherstripping and caulking are easy do-it-yourself jobs that won't require special skills or expensive tools. Sealing up you home is a great way to start as you forge along the path toward energy conservation.

First of all, here's a little background about where air will generally leak out in a home:

25% of air will leak from the basement sill plate, where the wood frame meets the foundation.

20% of air can leak out from exterior electric outlets.

13% can sneak out through your windows- whether they are not thick enough or are not properly sealed.

10% can escape through vents.

7% of air will wander out through light fixtures, baseboards, electrical outlets and attic hatches.

6% of air can escape through cracks in exterior doors ( frames).

Take note that another big air drain can be an unused and unsealed fire place. If the damper is open when a fire isn't burning, warm air will be sucked out of your home. If you don't use your fireplace, it's energy wise to consider having it sealed.

So, in order to be a bit of a leak detective and uncover where the major air loss is in your home, you can try the incense trick. No, this is not a witching ritual or some sort of cleansing ceremony. Simply take two sticks of incense on a windy day. Light the sticks then hold them together so that you can clearly see the smoke. A strong leak will blow the smoke away from you and will make the sticks glow brightly. A smaller leak will draw the smoke in, or puff the smoke in one direction.

Some quick and easy jobs you can do to prevent air leakage are:

- Cover/block electrical outlets and switches with weatherstripping material.

- Ensure that all your doors ( especially indoor/outdoor ones) are properly fitted. If you need to, a few dollars will buy you some rubber weatherstripping to skirt the door frame.

- Trees and smart landscaping can help to cool your home. High trimmed deciduous trees permit breezes to pass under and circulate around the chouse. They also protect the windows of the home from the direct impact of the sun. In the winter these trees lose their leaves and once again the sun is able to penetrate the house and have a desired warming effect for the cooler winter months.

Next you can move onto the caulking, weatherstripping and insulating job. Attending to this will help reduce your air leakage problems by up to 25%!

In the basement of your home you'll want to look for leaks to caulk where the wood frame wall meets the foundation. You'll also want to look around the windows and doors, and between cracks in the foundation and the wall slab. Caulk where the joists penetrate the foundation and also around any floor drains.

On the main floor you want to caulk around potential leaks around the windows, fireplaces, doors, exhaust fans and vents. Also look for places to caulk around electrical outlets, ceiling light fixtures, along interior trim and baseboards. Check between cracks in the walls or ceiling and along any joints where wood frame walls join masonry walls or chimneys. Investigate behind bathtubs and under sinks.

After the caulking comes the weatherstripping. Again, a job that in all likelihood you can do on your own. Weatherstrip outlets and switches with precut foam gaskets and install child safety plugs on all electrical outlets. Remove the trim around doors and windows and fill the gaps with insulation. Next, replace the trim and caulk around it.

Again, these are all easy and inexpensive ways to keep your home energy efficient and help keep your utility bills low.

About the Author
Illustrated Properties is a Jupiter FL real estate company with professional, effective services to help you succeed in the local market. Visit TedSoldIt.com for information on neighborhoods and home listings, and to get in touch with an expert Jupiter real estate agent.
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