Whether you live in a warm or cold climate, heating and cooling account for over half of the average home energy costs. Making sure your house is adequately weatherized and insulated is your first line of defense to stopping unnecessary home thermal energy loss. It will not only save you money, but reduce pollution and slow the depletion of irreplaceable natural resources.
Some obvious signs that home thermal energy is being wasted are: general draftiness; constant frost on your windows; snow melting off your roof more quickly than other nearby homes; and high heating bills. Some not so obvious signs of home heat energy loss are: inadequate wall insulation; warm air escaping around chimneys; and heat loss through glass.
Here are 9 ways to find and correct Home Thermal Energy loss:
1. Measure insulation between the joists in your attic to determine if it meets the recommended R-value standards. To figure out the total current R-value, multiply the number of inches of loose insulation by 3.7; for fiberglass insulation, multiply by 3.1 per inch. If total amounts are substandard, you need to add more insulation to meet the standard. The recommended R-value for attics in a cold climate is R38; for a moderate climate, R26.
2. Measure the temperature in different areas of a room. A room is poorly sealed if you can detect differences in temperature of one or two degrees. Saving thermal energy in this case is as easy as upgrading the weatherstripping around doors and windows.
3. Check for drafts around windows and doors. An easy way to do this is on a windy day, hold a tissue next to the gaps where your doors and windows open and close. If the tissue flutters, your weatherstripping is inadequate, and it should be replaced or upgraded. Another heat saving idea to minimize home thermal energy loss is to look for light showing from the outside around door and window jambs.
4. Conduct a home energy audit with the assistance of your local utility company. Most power companies will provide a home energy audit kit. Some may even conduct the audit for you for a fee or in some cases, free of charge.
5. Frost buildup on windows is clear evidence of poor weatherstripping and an inadequate storm window. To inexpensively stop home thermal energy loss in this case, just upgrade the weatherstripping and add a layer of plastic sheeting on the exterior or interior side of the window.
6. Condensation or frost between windows happens when moisture builds up in the space between the window and the storm window. To save thermal energy for this problem and keep the warm, moist air on the inside, update the interior weatherstripping. Also, you need to check that there’s an outlet for moisture in the storm window. If there isn’t, you can make one by drilling one or two small holes in the lower rail of the storm window.
7. Inspect insulation and weatherstripping. What you want to check for here are signs of deterioration like crumbling foam or rubber; hardening of materials like felt or foam rubber that should be flexible; and damaged metal stripping. Replacing these materials as needed goes a long way in saving your home thermal energy and keeping your average home utility costs down.