Halt Winter Home Heat Loss

Is your home drafty, hard to heat, and driving up your energy bills? Most homes suffer from unnecessary heat loss, sometimes from sources few homeowners think about. Here is a list of ways that your home might be contributing to heat loss – and ways you can stop the energy drain.

Weather-strip your doors & keep them closed

Doors cover gigantic holes in the exterior wall of your home. Periodically, you need to open those doors to enter or exit the home. When it’s cold outside, make sure to get the door closed as fast as possible so that a minimum of heat is lost.  Also, be sure to check the seal around the door to make sure it is tight and not leaking heat. New weather-stripping might help reduce drafts and heat-loss.

Upgrade your dryer vent

Dryer vents are like miniature chimneys. When you’re drying your clothes, it conducts heat from your clothes dryer. When the dryer is not in use, that same vent can be a heat-draining culprit! Standard vents are usually sheet-metal vent flappers that insulate poorly and can fail to close properly when they get clogged with lint. Invest in an upgraded dryer vent – plastic dryer shields use a floating shuttle to stop the flow of air when the dryer isn’t being used.

Stop fireplace chimney heat loss

Have a fireplace? The chimney can be a significant source of heat loss. Designed to carry heat upward and out of your house, an open damper in an unused fireplace can suck a good deal of heat out of your home. Cut this loss by installing an inflatable draft stopper when you’re not enjoying a fire. Also, consider placing a fire-resistant “fireplace blanket” over the outside of your fire screen at night to keep warm air in and to block out the cold. It conserves energy and saves money by reducing the heat loss that escapes up your chimney after a wood burning fire.

Turn the thermostat down

Although you want your home to be comfortable when you’re at home and awake, you can save a good deal of money by turning down the heat at night and while you’re away at work. Turn the thermostat down at night and add an extra blanket to the bed to compensate. Keep it lower while you’re at work, too. You can keep this process easy by using a programmable thermostat.

Insulate the basement

A poorly insulated basement can be a huge contributor to home heat loss. If the floor above the basement is chilly, you’ll want to check the basement for cracks in the walls and floors and fill any you find by using premixed cement or other filler. For even more protection, you might consider studding the exterior walls, adding fiberglass insulation, and covering with drywall or paneling.

Insulate the attic

Attics can also be a huge source of heat loss. Check to see if the attic insulation is the proper R-value for your home’s climate. Also be sure to check the insulation and air sealing around the access to your attic, especially to if your attic is unfinished. A home’s attic access, which could be an attic hatch, pull-down stairs, or a knee-wall door, often goes uninsulated. This gap in the attic insulation increases heat loss in the winter. A 1/4-inch gap around the perimeter of an attic access can potentially leak a lot of heat. By air sealing attic access, you can significantly reduce heating costs.

Seal windows

Windows can have gaps around them, at least in spots.  If you’re not sure, light an incense stick and hold it fairly close to the windows and see if the smoke is drawn out cracks you may not see. Caulk drafty windows on the outside. During the winter, replace window screens with glass, which insulates better. Inside, add insulated shades or curtains. (Hint: Cozy Curtains is an excellent source for custom fitted, insulated curtains, shades and window covering solutions ; )

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