How to Fight the Wind, the Elements, and Vampires
Alright, I probably should clarify – we’re going to look at energy conservation. I admit that the title is a little confusing, so just know we’re talking about sealing your home, managing indoor air temperature, and combating the vicious vampires that lurk unseen in your house.
Air Leaks: Where to Find Them and How To Fight Them
As lovely as a home can be, they aren’t exactly airtight. There are many places in homes with gaps that allow air to move freely between the outdoors and the indoors, forcing your AC/Heaters to work harder to maintain the right temperature. Here are some common areas of heat loss in your home:
- Attic Entrance
- Baseboards/Wall joins
- Window & Door
- Outlets, Switches, Recessed Lights
So what can you do to find air leaks in your home? That’s easy. Get an incense stick or smokepen and, on a windy day, put them near these common trouble areas. If you see smoke being pulled towards these places, you have an air leak. Now, what can you do to fix these problems? Seal them up.
- Caulk and weatherstrip around windows, doors, baseboards, and the attic entrance
- Caulk and seal places where wiring/plumbing comes through walls, floors, and ceilings. Foam gaskets are also helpful when sealing these areas
- Add rubber thresholds/sealing gaskets to doors with large gaps at their base
There are other areas that can have significant heat loss, like your roof, windows, and fireplace. Click the EnergySavers link below for great information on how to deal with those challenges.
The Temperature: Managing Heating and Cooling
Okay, the most important part of managing your home’s temperature is managing your temperature. It may sound obvious, but wear weather appropriate clothing and you’ll find you need your heater and cooler less often. Okay, now that you’re taken care of, we can get to your home. Here are some important tips for you to follow:
- Clean/replace your air filters regularly
- Keep air vents/radiators clean and open to the room (don’t block them up with drapes or furniture)
- Turn bathroom/kitchen fans off within 20 minutes of bathing/cooking
- In winter, keep drapes open when the sun is out and closed during the day (only for windows that get direct sunlight)
- In summer, keep blinds/covers down in order to block sunlight
One of the most important things to do can also be the most unpleasant – tough it out. Program your thermostat to be as low in winter) and high in summer as you’re comfortable with and don’t fiddle with it. Not a fun tip, but definitely a helpful one.
No, that’s not the name of my band – not yet anyways – but of a problem that most of us don’t know we have. Many of our electronics, even when completely “off” are still using quite a bit of electricity, costing you money on every bill. The solution to this problem is very easy – just unplug the appliances when not in use. If that’s going to be a hassle for you, you can always invest in smart power strips. They automatically turn off electronics that try to go into “Stand-by” mode.
Well, hopefully these tips help you conserve more energy and save money on your electric bill. If you want to read more about ways to save energy, check out this great guide from the U.S. Department of Energy called EnergySavers – it’s where we got the information for this article.
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