Time is money, the old adage goes, but so is a well-winterized house. Stopping air leakages can take as much as 30 percent off your heating bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Check out these three tips for closing up air leaks around your home:
1. First, do an energy audit of your house, keeping an eye out for the trouble spots. Windows and doors are obvious places to check, but also look at things like wall outlets and switches, plumbing vents and the attic hatch for leakage. Swaying curtains and light under your doors are sure signs, but you can find less obvious air leaks by using an infrared thermometer to check for temperature variations. Or use a lighted candle (carefully). If the flame moves, air is coming in.
2. Seal the outside of windows with a good quality silicone caulk; use rope caulk on the inside (it can be removed in the spring). Or cover windows with a transparent film, using a hair dryer for adhesion. Other air leaks can be sealed with caulk or self-adhesive weather stripping.
3. Installing insulation yourself is not easy, but if you have an older home, chances are you need to add more. If the insulation is level with or below the floor joists, you should add more, according to Energy Star, a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.
Here is a list of local places and resources where you can find supplies and advice for insulating your home:
- Mass Save: Mass Save offers information on home energy audits, including rebates and incentives.
- Spartan Ace Hardware: This Stoneham hardware store carries all the supplies you'd need to make energy-saving improvements to your home.
- Green Depot: This Stoneham-based company sells green building products for homeowners throughout the Boston area.
- Tri-CAP: This organization offers low-income residents in Stoneham free weatherization, free electric audits and assistance in repairing home heating systems.