There is no denying February can be brutally cold in Maryland and Virginia. However, there is no need to suffer through the cold. Coming home to a warm, and cozy house is one of the best things about winter. However, using a heating system to constantly warm up your home can have a significant impact on your utility bill. Infact, the US Department of Energy states heating your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home - typically making up about 42% of your utility bill. That is a pretty hefty slice. However, there are some little known ways you can reduce your energy bill while still keeping your home cozy and warm during the winter months. How? By adding insulation or air sealing to a few “hidden” spots around the home that typically require a lot of energy to heat. In this article we reveal 8 places to add insulation or air sealing to help reduce your home heating costs.1. Attic & Attic Hatch
Did you know your attic is one of the biggest culprits for air leakage and energy loss in your home? It is! If your attic does not have the proper level of insulation, you are essentially throwing money away. It is a good idea to consider adding insulation, or if you already have insulation - additional layers, to keep the cold air in during the summer and the warm air in during the winter. Furthermore, if you have an attic hatch, it is possible your attic has insulation, but did you remember to insulate the hatch itself? Or is it exposed to potential air leakage? Adding weather stripping around the frame and foam board to the hatch can help reduce any lossed energy.
It might seem obvious, but windows are often overlooked as a major source of air leakage. If your windows are a little old, it might be a good idea to check for any sources of air leakage. All of the windows in your home should be sealed with foam insulation and caulking to prevent air loss.
3. Recessed Lighting
A not-so-obvious source of heating loss can be your recessed lighting fixtures. These are often installed without proper surrounding insulation. However, do not try installing insulation by yourself. To avoid any potential fire hazards, WoW suggests using a professional home improvement contractor to properly insulate these areas.
Similar to windows, doors are a pretty obvious source of air leakage but often forgotten about. And, just like windows, doors should be sealed with foam insulation, caulking, as well as a simple door sweep.
5. Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets located on outside facing walls are all too often overlooked, but are notorious for air leakage and wasted energy. For a simple and affordable fix, all you need to do is install foam gaskets behind the outlets and switch plates.
6. Air Ducts
You could be losing countless dollars per year from having poorly sealed air ducts in your home. Conditioned air escapes through improperly sealed joints and is lost to the unconditioned space where the duct is located. An easy fix would be to use duct mastic to seal these joints to stop any air leakage and increase the efficiency of your ducts.
A sneaky culprit of air leakage in your home may be your fireplace. Did you know that when not in use, fireplaces draw the conditioned air out of your house through the chimney? Not only does that mean you are losing warm air in winter, you are also losing cool air in the summer. A simple fix to this problem is chimney top dampers and chimney balloons. Again, we advise getting a professional home improvement contractor to complete these retrofits in case of any fire hazards.
8. Basements and Crawl Spaces
If you have recently insulated your home, it is quite possible you forgot the basement and crawl space. It happens often! Adding insulation where possible to your basement and any crawl spaces can prevent the convection cycle of air infiltration in the home. Furthermore, adding foam sealing to all your incoming/outgoing pipes and electrical wires can help prevent air leakage and energy loss in these areas.