Do You Feel a Draft in Your Cedar Rapids Home?

meterThings are about to get colder in the Cedar Rapids Area.  We all know that time of year when we are starting our furnaces and bundling up.  Here are some ways to save some money on your heating bill by fixing the drafty spot in your home.

Visual Inspection

On the outside of your home inspect the areas where two different materials meet, like:

  • All exterior corners
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where siding and chimneys meet
  • Areas where the foundation and the bottom of exterior brick or siding meet

For your inside inspection look for gaps or cracks that may cause air leaks, like:

  • Electrical outlets
  • Switch plates
  • Door and window frames
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Baseboards
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners.
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Vents and fans
  • Check for gaps around pipes, wiring, foundation sealing, and mail slots

Don’t forget to check the windows and doors of the house.  Does your storm door close properly?  Is the caulking still good or do you have to replace it?  Do the storm windows close properly or are they cracked? Do your windows rattle on a windy day?

Tips for Sealing Air Leaks

  • Test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, carefully hold a lit incense stick or a smoke pen next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other places where air may leak. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Caulk and 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 dirty spots in your 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 dirty spots 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.
  • Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
  • 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 sheet rock and furnace cement caulk.

**While some of the fixes are on the easy side you might have to contact a professional for others.**

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**information provided by the Department of Energy