It seems as if warm air is constantly looking for ways to escape your home during the winter months. While good insulation and weatherized doors and windows can help, other sources of potential air leaks are often overlooked.
In the average home, more than 40 percent of heat loss occurs through fireplaces, air ducts, and plumbing and electrical access points. Sealing gaps and air leaks in these areas can result in significant savings on your winter heating bills and keep your home comfortable.
Talk with a contractor about making some improvements in these areas:
Fireplace. Your chimney is an outlet for the warm air generated by your furnace. If your fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed to prevent any warm air from going up the chimney. Check the seal on the flue damper and make sure that it is as snug as possible. Consider installing tempered glass doors and a heat exchange system that blows warm air back inside.
Air ducts. Over time, ductwork can develop leaks, holes, and poor connections. A contractor can fix simple leaks in unheated areas, like attics and crawlspaces, and can identify any more serious problems.
Plumbing and electrical access. Gaps may occur where electrical lines, plumbing, and gas pipes enter your home from the outdoors. Talk with your contractor about sealing these areas.
To optimize the efficiency of your heating system and to maximize comfort, make sure your home is properly insulated and the gaps around doors and windows are caulked and sealed. Have your heating system cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician. A home energy audit is a great way to ensure that your home is operating as efficiently as possible.
For rebate information, online energy-use tools, and more, check out PG&E Energy House Calls.