Top 5 Drains on Your Home Heating System
Winter certainly has its charms, but nothing puts a damper on snow days and holiday cheer than high home heating bills. Trim your energy usage down to size by addressing possible heat drains. These top five culprits are the perfect place to start.
Lack of Insulation
If you have one room that always seems colder than the rest or live in an older home, your insulation might need bolstering. Exterior walls are responsible for about 35% of heat loss, and the roof accounts for another 15%. Simply upgrading your attic insulation can put a dent in your bills, especially if you can see spots lacking coverage. If you have a perpetually cold room, see if you can identify where the cold air is coming from and take a look at what is going on behind your drywall. If the room is over an overhang or garage, you may need to insulate down below.
Up to 37% of home heat loss leaves through windows. If you have wood-frame, single-pane windows, the costs can add up. Upgrading to double-pane windows can reduce home heating costs by up to 25%. Retro Teck Windows, a leading window manufacturer in British Columbia, recommends Energy Star-rated, vinyl windows for maximum efficiency. Be sure to check with your local government and energy company to see if they offer window upgrade incentives or rebates.
While ill-fitted windows are a major cause air leaks, they are not the only one. Doors, exterior vents, power outlets and even recessed lighting can all let your hot air out. While a home energy audit is the best way to identify leaks, you can perform a quick leak audit yourself. Light an incense stick on a windy day and slowly pan it over your exterior walls. If the smoke is sucked horizontally, there is a leak to plug.
Basements and Crawlspaces
Like exterior walls, basements and crawl spaces can seep heat out of your home. Older homes are especially prone, but even middle aged homes that have settled on their foundations can lose their seal against the elements. Inspect your foundation or hire professionals to do it for you. Cracks should be repaired and insulated.
Investing in your home's heating efficiency will save you on your energy bills and makes your family more comfortable. If you are noticing drafts or your bill is wince-worthy, it is more than worth your time to investigate possible heat drains.
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