Is your electricity bill driving you up the wall? Want to save on heating expenses during the winter without actually freezing to death? That's very possible, just fix air leaks in your home, and you'd be sure to save a lot of money on your heating bill. It might require some time for you to find all the possible air leaks, but it'll be worth it. Pretend you're a detective. Your aim is to find all those air leaks, down to the tiniest one.
What are air leaks anyway? They refer to areas in your house where air can enter, and consequently, leave your home unnoticed. This means the heat being generated by your heating system can also pass through them, a total waste of energy.
- Start with your doors. Check your front and back doors for space underneath them. Peek down there, and if you feel air coming in, then there are air leaks in those areas. Another method of checking air leaks is to do it at night-time. Ask the help of someone else from your family, and have him use a flashlight from the inside while you're outside to observe. Tell him to point the flashlight along the edges of door-frames and if you see a lot of light seeping through in some areas, then there are air leaks there.
- Move on to your windows. Check if there are gaps in the windowsills. Most people suggest using a candle to test windows. Hold the window near the windowsill and see if it flickers. If it does, then there's an air leak. If there are air leaks and you can't afford to replace the windows just yet, you can use electric tape to cover the space. Foam liners are also good alternatives. Proper insulation however, is strongly recommended, as they will keep air leaks from happening again for a longer time. Check also for cracked windowpanes and replace them right away, if there are any.
- Check your walls, especially the outer ones. There may be unnoticed holes and cracks where air drafts can come in. Remember that there is no crevice small enough, all of them should be found and properly covered up. Electrical outlets can be one of the worst air leaks, so better check them out, too.
- If there are rooms in your house that you don't use anymore, better keep them locked and closed as well. If there are air vents leading to those rooms, then close them off. It will be useless to heat rooms nobody stays in. If you have a basement and a den that you rarely use, then close off the air vents there as well. Check your fireplace and mail chutes, too.
- If you think there are still air leaks around, or you cannot deal with them well enough, you can hire a professional to evaluate the energy problems in your home. He will be conducting tests, such as depressurization, which can test the air pressure in your house and, in the process, identify where the air leaks are.
Be observant. You should be the one most familiar with your home. Take note of your heating bill and see if it improves. If it does, then you succeeded in fixing air leaks. Congratulations!