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checklistWhen it comes to winter home comfort, air leaks are the enemy: they make rooms less comfortable while also forcing your propane furnace or boiler to overwork to keep you warm – all of which leads to higher bills and a shorter lifespan for your heating equipment.

The question is how do you find and eliminate, or at least reduce, those drafts?

Hunting for air leaks

A good place to start in your search for air leaks is to become more observant of your living space:

  • Look for rooms that are obviously colder than the rest of the house
  • Use a flashlight at night to look for gaps in your home’s external envelop (turn the lights out, then have someone stay in a room while you shine the light from the outside; if light comes through a hole or gap, you have the source of your leak. *
  • Hold a candle at the window or near a doorframe to see if it flickers.

Some draft issues can be handled easily using simple, economical measures such as caulk, door sweeps, or weather-stripping; other problems may require professional intervention. If the latter is the case, consider hiring a qualified technician to conduct an energy audit – particularly a blower door test. This test depressurizes a home, revealing the location of many leaks.

Air leak checklist

For a little help with air leak prevention, here’s a checklist of measures suggested by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). You can find more energy efficiency and air leak tips at their website: www.energy.gov.

  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  • Inspect stained and dirty insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose, and install house flashing if needed.
  • Look for stains on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
  • Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane, low-emissivity windows.
  • Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
  • Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
  • Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
  • Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
  • Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.

The bottom line

It’s a good idea to check for drafts in your home periodically; it may not be as well insulated as you think! Consider investing in an energy audit for your home, too, so you can take full advantage when you install new high-efficiency heating equipment.

Want more cold weather energy saving ideas? We can help! Contact Advanced Propane today. Advanced Propane Inc. – serving the Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky area from our offices in Lebanon, Cookeville, and Hartsville.

*Try this with your windows, doorways, at the house corners and joints, and even on floorboards.