The quickest and most effective way to cut your heating costs this winter is through draft prevention. Cold air entering your home undermines all your energy-saving efforts, especially if you have lots of leaks. With a bit of effort and a few materials, you can easily stop the uncomfortable and costly air infiltration.
Where to Start
Besides noting where you have visible cracks in your home’s envelope around the foundation, windows, and exterior doors, you may have leaks that aren’t so easy to spot. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends using a stick of lighted incense or a candle to walk around the perimeter of the interior of your home, noting where the smoke wavers. Moving smoke indicates an air leak.
Before you start the test, turn off all the fans and your HVAC system. It’s helpful to have a pencil and paper handy to write down the areas of concern.
More obscure places might be behind the baseboards on perimeter walls, recessed lights that protrude into the attic, or a fireplace. The foundation wall might have cracks that let in plenty of outdoor air. A visual inspection can help identify problems in these areas, as can a licensed energy auditor who uses state-of-the-art equipment to evaluate your whole house.
The pros at Mowery Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing can test your ductwork for leakage. Your energy losses could be substantial if the ductwork passes through an attic or an unfinished basement. Besides raising energy bills, leaking ducts also compromise indoor air quality.
Sealing the Leaks
Products for draft prevention — such as caulk, expanding foams, and weather stripping — are available at home centers. If the flue for a fireplace is warped, it could be the source of considerable heat loss. Fireplace balloons are available online and at home improvement stores to seal a leaky chimney.
The time you invest in draft prevention will pay for itself over the course of an Indianapolis winter. To learn more about home-energy savings and ductwork sealing, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing, providing trusted HVAC services for Indianapolis-area homeowners.