In the days of our pioneer forefathers and mothers, energy efficiency meant stuffing mud, twigs & roots, and maybe animal hair into the chinks of their log cabins. Over the years, our efforts to keep warm or cool and save energy have become more sophisticated. But that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Following are a few tips on saving heat and money.
Our ancestors were on the right track: When you’re making the first steps to conserve heat and energy, plug the holes first! You can have the best insulated house in the world, but what good is it if the storm is blowing right through that 3/4 inch gap under your front door?
Take a look around your home. Making sure your doors and windows fit properly and are weatherstripped is a great start. If you feel a draft or cool air anywhere, look more closely for the source. Have any holes been cut through the ceiling for pipes, vents, or wiring? Make sure they’re well sealed to prevent heat loss. Does your attic access cover fit tightly, and is there an adequate amount of insulation (if in a room or hallway, expect at least R-30 insulation) over the cover?
Your home’s HVAC system (Heating, venting, and air conditioning) is typically the worst offender in losing heated (or cooled) air in your home. Why waste heated air you’ve already paid for? A few years ago when I was inspecting the heat ducting in my attic, one of the flexible air ducts had fallen right off it’s connection, leaving warm air to stream into the attic! If this isn’t something you can do yourself, have a heating professional check out all the connections. And don’t forget the return air ducts and the furnace unit itself. Air will leak anywhere where the connections are not well sealed. A thorough check is well worth the time and/or money spent.