Draft Dodger: Fixing Air Leaks a Key to Lower Bills and Greater Comfort

Window sealing foam

Drafts and air leaks are the natural enemy of home comfort, especially in older homes: not only do they make rooms uncomfortable, they also raise your energy bill and make your furnace or boiler work harder to do their job – which could lead to more heating system repairs and a shorter lifespan for your heating equipment.

The question is how do you find and eliminate, or at least reduce, those drafts?

Draft hunting

A good place to start in your search for air leaks is to use all your senses as you look around your home. Be attentive to rooms that are colder than the rest of the house, for example – or try using a flashlight at night to look for gaps in your home’s external envelop (turn the lights out, then have someone stay in a room while you shine the light from the outside; if light comes through a hole or gap, you have the source of your leak. Try this with your windows, doorways, at the house corners and joints, and even on floorboards). Holding a candle at the window or near a doorframe to see if it flickers works, too.

Some draft issues can be handled easily using caulk, door sweeps, or weatherstripping; other problems may be too difficult and complicated to deal with on your own. If the latter is the case, consider hiring a qualified technician to conduct an energy audit – particularly a blower door test. This test depressurizes a home, revealing the location of many leaks. An audit will also help determine areas in your home that need more insulation. Once problem areas are identified, the technician can fix so you’ll enjoy more comfort and lower bills.

Air leak checklist

For a little help with where to get started with your air sealing projects, here’s a checklist of measures suggested by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). You can find more energy efficiency and air leak tips at their website: www.energy.gov.

The bottom line

Drafts They not only let in air, they also let in dust, dirt, pollen, and even mold-enhancing moisture. It’s a good idea to check for drafts in your home periodically; it may not be as well insulated as you think! Consider investing in an energy audit for your home, too, so you can take full advantage of the amazing energy savings from your high efficiency heating equipment.

Want more cold weather energy saving ideas? Give Bottini Fuel a call. Remember: We’ve Got You Covered – all fall and winter long.