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Finding Hidden Energy Losses in Your Home
Is hidden energy waste costing you? Some energy losses are easy to spot, while others may be concealed behind walls or in dark corners. Carefully examine your home. What you find may surprise you — and save you money. Here's what to look for.
Holes in the attic
You may not spend much time in your attic, but it's a great place for air (and your energy dollars) to escape. While you're up there, make sure there's no air leaking through gaps and holes. Pull back attic insulation to find cutouts from ceiling fans and recessed light fixtures and seal them with caulk or expandable foam. Check for and seal gaps around plumbing vents, furnace flues and ductwork. Also, seal the attic door or access with weatherstripping.
Airflow through holes in your basement can undermine your energy budget and reduce comfort. Air can escape through gaps and cracks in the rim joists and where the wall meets the ceiling, as well as through plumbing and wiring holes on outside walls. Caulk is best for sealing small holes or cracks. Use spray foam insulation to fill larger gaps.
If your home isn't insulated properly, you're spending more to be less comfortable. Check your attic. If there's no insulation, contact a qualified contractor right away. If you have insulation, make sure the R-level matches that recommended for your climate zone. What about your walls? A qualified contractor can perform an inspection and advise whether you need to add insulation.
Many electronic devices in your home, such as smartphone chargers and video game consoles, continue to draw power even when they're turned off. Unplug devices when they're not in use or plug them into advanced power strips, which automatically power off unused devices.
Forget to change the air filter on your furnace? The added heating and cooling costs will leave a lasting impression. To ensure efficient airflow and comfort, change your air filter monthly during the heating and cooling season, or according to manufacturer's guidelines.
If the hot water piping coming out of your hot water tank isn't insulated, you're wasting energy and money. Fitted pipe insulation is available at your local DIY retailer, and it's an easy and affordable project. Click here to see how.
You've covered a lot of ground and uncovered a lot of ways to reduce your energy bills and make your home more comfortable. Take it a step further and hire a qualified professional to perform an energy assessment of your home. You'll receive a targeted set of recommendations to save energy and make your home more comfortable.
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