From leaky windows to poorly insulated basements, heat losses from your home pile up, taking a serious chunk out of your paycheck. Identifying where the heat in your home is lost is key to making it more heat efficient. Here are seven ways you’re losing heat in your home, and steps you can take to shut them down.
1. Losing Heat: Attic Holes
After losing heat through windows, an attic is the biggest offender. Holes to accommodate pipes, vents and ducts can release a tremendous amount of heat and should be sealed with a foam spray or general-purpose caulk. Solution: You should seal as many holes as you can find. Not only does sealing holes save you money, it also reduces uncomfortable drafts.
2. Losing Heat: Air Conditioners
Since they’re not needed, window air conditioning units should be removed in the winter. Solutions: If they are not removed, the area around the air conditioning units should be sealed with removable rope caulk to keep the heat inside. Using air conditioner covers will also reduce your home’s heat loss and save money on your heating bill throughout the cold winter months.
3. Losing Heat: Floors
Heat can be lost through uninsulated floors. An uninsulated floor also allows unwanted cold air to enter your home from underground. Solution: One of the smartest investments homeowners can make to improve energy efficiency is to install insulation under their floors.
4. Losing Heat: Ceiling
Heat loss through the ceiling in your home could be very large if insulation levels are less than the recommended minimum. When your house was built, the builder likely installed the minimum amount of insulation recommended at that time. Solution: Get insulation professionally installed, R-38 is recommended in our region. A well-insulated ceiling keeps heating costs down. In the summer, the same alteration keeps cool air in.
5. Losing Heat: Basement
Not that Arizonans often have basements and that may contribute to the fact that they are often poorly set up. Builders aren’t usually required to build them as they are in other parts of the country.
Solutions: Heat can be lost through a poorly insulated basement, so installing insulation along the basement walls is often an effective first step. As well, check for cracks in concrete, stone, or brick basement walls, and make repairs with cement. Holes to accommodate plumbing pipes or laundry ducts can be big sources of heat loss and need to be reduced with an expanding foam.
6. Losing Heat: Access Hatches
A ceiling opening from the living area into an unheated attic is a source of heat loss. Every attic access hatch needs weather-stripping. Solution: The edges should be weather-stripped and the backside of the attic door insulated. If your hatch rests directly on the moldings, add stops 2.5 inches wide around the opening.
7. Losing Heat: Fireplace
A chimney pushes heat upward, out of your home. An unused fireplace with an open damper will increase heating costs. Solutions: First, close the damper. You can then reduce loss further by installing a draft stopper for use when the fireplace is empty. Another way to minimize heat loss is to put a glass barrier in front of the fireplace.
The bonus for most of these steps is that improvement investment dollars stretch farther. Each of these ideas work to keep the cool air inside during Arizona’s hot months, saving money at that time of year, as well.
Heating is expensive enough already, so you don’t want to pay for heat that escapes. Some heat loss reduction methods require an investment, but it’s worth it all when you see that smaller number on your heating bill.