Beware A Winter Cold Air Home Invasion

Few air home leak problems are as obvious a a stiff autumn breeze (complete with leaves) roaring through your living room. Weak seal leaks in your home can be harder to detect to the naked eye than a  deep cover spy in Moscow.

As the U.S. Department of energy stresses, “Reducing the amount of air that leaks in an out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment.”

And from Bangor, Maine to San Diego, California, home air leaks is a costly problem escaping homes across the United States. A typical American family spends roughly a third of its annual heating and cooling budget – an estimated $350 – on air that leaks into or out of the house through unintended gaps and cracks.

Stealth home air leaks roll out the welcome mat for winter to invade your home.

Thankfully, the airtight good news is reducing air home leaks is easy as pouring yourself a bowl of cereal for breakfast in the morning.

“With the money you waste in just one year, you can plug many of those leaks yourself,” House Logic notes. “It’s among the most cost-effective things you can do to conserve energy and increase comfort, according to Energy Star.”

And the last thing you want you house to feel like and be called by guests during the coldest months of the year is “drafty.” Because these leaks, Energy Star confirms, “significantly raise your energy bill and make your house uncomfortable.”

Draft Sources

Warm air is the house guest that never wears out its welcome during the bitter chill of winter. But lost warm air keeps homes drafty, chilly and costly to heat.

Air leakage occurs when outside air enters your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. 

Of course there is the obvious sign. If you feel compelled to put on your winter coat while watching television on the couch, you’ve got an air leak problem.

“If you’re cold inside your home this winter, odds are it’s because the heat – which you work hard to pay for – is escaping,” House Logic reports. “It’s rushing out through air leaks that can be difficult to find, both on the interior and exterior of your home.”

Locating leak sources can be like trying to find particular rock in a rock garden. They are often hidden under insulation. The cold rule of winter is that warm air rises in your house, just as it does in a chimney. With undetected drafts, this air – which you pay to heat – is wasted and lost as it rises into your attic space and sucks cold in all around your home. From windows to doors and holes in the basement, your home could be under an all points cold air home invasion.

But where are these stealth air leaks located? Here are Energy’s most common locations for hidden home air leaks:

  • Behind Kneewalls
  • Attic Hatches
  • Wiring Holes
  • Plumbing Vents
  • Open Soffit (the box that hides recessed lights)
  • Recessed Lights
  • Furnace Flue or Duct Chaseway (the hollow box or wall feature that hides ducts)
  • Basement Rim Joists (where the foundation meets the wood framing)
  • Windows and Doors

Anti-Leak Measures

Alas, air leaks can happen to the most energy efficient of homes. But by taking these simple anti-leak measures, you put a plug in your home’s even slightest air leaks.

  • Insulate Around Recessed Lights
  • Plug Open Stud Cavities
  • Close Gaps Around Flues and Chimneys
  • Weatherstrip The Attic Access Door
  • Squirt Foam In Medium-Size Gaps
  • Caulk Skinny Gaps
  • Plug Gaps in the Basement
  • Tighten Up Around Windows and Doors

Remember, a home energy audit can give you a full energy report on your home and a full breakdown of all home air leaks, big, small and nearly invisible.   

Battling through a long Iowa winter by itself is tough enough. Don’t let its cold air invade your home and spike your heating bills through home air leaks. For there’s no good reason to suffer through winter in a drafty house.

“Fixing air leaks will make your home more energy efficient,” House Logic stresses.“You’ll feel warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and, perhaps best of all, you’ll save money on monthly utility bills.”

And you’ll keep winter firmly outside your door.

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