How to spot common energy leaks

Check your home’s exterior envelope.

Look at the windows, doors, walls, and roof exposed to outdoor air. Hold a candle or stick of incense near windows, doors, electrical outlets, range hoods, plumbing nad ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and ceiling fans in bathrooms. When smoke blows, there’s a draft from a source that may need caulking, sealant, weather stripping or insulation.

Check insulation R-value or thickness

Notice where insulation is exposed (in an attic, unfinished basement or around ducts, water heaters, and appliances). The DOE recommends using a ruler to measure. Compare results against those suggested for the region via an insulation calculator.

Although examining in-wall insulation is difficult, homeowners can safely remove electrical outlet covers, turn off electricity, and probe inside the wall, the DOE notes in its DIY audit guide. However, only a professional’s thermographic scan can reveal if insulation coverage is consistent within a wall. Insulation can settle or may not be uniformly installed.

Look for stains on insulation.

These often indicate air leaks from a hole behind the insulation, such as a duct hole or crack in an exterior wall.

Inspect exposed ducts

They may nor work efficiently if they are dirty, have small holes, or if they pass through unfinished portions of the home and are not insulated. Look for obvious holes and whether intersections of duct pipe are joined correctly. Since ducts are typically mdae out of thin metal that easily conducts hear, uninsulated or poorly insulated ducts in unconditioned spaced can lose 10% to 30% of the energy used to heat and cool your home, according to the Department of Energy.


About Debbie Robinson, REALTOR®

Selling Real Estate in Northeast Georgia from Braselton to Lake Hartwell since 1997. Graduated from the University of Georgia in 1980.
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