As temperatures drop with the onset of fall now is the time you want to check your home for drafts. According to Energy Star, a drafty home can increase your heating bill by 20%. On average that is over $100 in heating costs just leaking out of your home each winter. Here are some helpful tips to check for drafts in your home and solutions to fixing the draft.
Check Exterior Walls
The first place you want to look when checking your home for drafts is exterior walls. A professional heating and cooling specialist can perform an energy audit and see where your installation is lacking. Over time installation can settle or become compromised over time. When the specialist checks your home they will be able to see if you exterior walls could use new or more installation.
Attics, eaves and knee walls
Many older homes have fiberglass insulation which is not as efficient as new and improved expanding foam insulation. An energy auditor can look in our attic, eaves and knee walls to see if you adequate insulation. Once you updated your insulation in these areas you should see a significant savings on your heating costs.
To check and see if your windows are leaking air take a lit candle and hold it up to the edges of the window. If the flame flickers or is blown out it it’s likely you have a draft problem with your windows. The first quick fix is to reseal the windows. However, if your windows are over 15 years old you may want to consider replacing your windows. Upgrading to energy efficient windows can save you on heating and cooling bills each year.
If you have a chimney in your home you this should be the first draft you fix. Check the chimney for air flow around the brick and edges of the fireplace. If you feel any air leaks start with fixing those first. The next thing you want to do is get a chimney cover to place in the chimney when you are not using your fireplace. Remember to have your chimney inspected at least once a year to ensure it is working properly.
Exterior walls with outlets should be checked for drafts. You will be surprised by how much of a draft can leak through an outlet. A simple way to check the draft is the candle method and also by placing your hand over the outlet. If the candle flickers or if you feel the draft you will want to get a special gasket that will eliminate the draft. What you will be looking for at your local hardware store is a draft-proofing gaskets. The draft-proofing gasket is a plate that goes behind the outlet and keeps drafts from coming in around the outlet. It’s a quick fix that can help you save on your heating bill.
Other wiring areas and plumbing
Plumbing and writing that goes outside is another source for air leaks. To check for leaks do the candle test around plumbing and wiring that goes outside. Consult an electrician for ways to seal up leaks around wiring and find a plumber for ways to fill gaps around pipes.
The top and bottom of exterior doors are a big source of drafts in the home. Look at the seal of the door to see if it is damage. If the seal appears to be cracked or peeling away from the frame you should replace the seal. If you still feel a leak coming from the bottom of the door a door sweep can help keep drafts out.
If you are looking to make some home repairs to house but are unsure how you can afford the upgrades you want to make, a reverse mortgage could be the answer. A reverse mortgage eliminates your current mortgage* and if you have any additional equity you can use that tax-free** cash for anything you want. There is currently no income or credit requirements for a reverse mortgage and you are never required to make a payment as long as you live in your home. You can have the peace of mind knowing you can live in your home for the rest of your life.
Kristen Curzytek is a writer for the One Reverse Mortgage blog. One Reverse Mortgage is the largest retail reverse mortgage lender in America. Check out our reverse mortgage calculator to see how much tax-free** cash you can qualify for. Or give us a call at (800)401-8114 to talk to one of our licensed professionals. They can discuss your financial situation with you and determine if a reverse mortgage makes sense for you and your goals.
*Homeowners are still responsible for taxes, insurance and property maintenance.
**Please consult with your financial advisor.