Overlooked Areas of Heat Loss in Your Home

During the chilly winter months, the warm air from your heater or fireplace is constantly on the lookout for any way possible to escape your home. It will find every opportunity to make a quick get-away, often leaving you paying a pretty penny to keep your indoors cozy. Weatherized doors and windows as well as insulation can definitely make a huge difference, but there are three other sneaky sources of potential air leaks are frequently overlooked.

The average home loses more than 40 percent of its heat through fireplaces and air ducts as well as plumbing and electrical access points. Sealing gaps and air leaks in these problem areas can offer substantial savings on your winter heating bills, keeping your home and energy bills comfortable. Talk with your home handyman or a contractor about making some improvements in these areas:

  • Fireplace. Your chimney is a wide-open passage for the warm air generated by your furnace. When you are not using your fireplace, keep the damper tightly shut to ensure the warm air stays inside your home rather than escaping via the chimney. Check the seal on the flue damper to confirm it’s as fitted as possible. You may also want to consider installing tempered glass doors on your gas, pellet or wood burning stove 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 also locate and repair any other more significant issues that are opportunities for home heat loss.
  • Plumbing and electrical access. Openings may occur where electrical lines, plumbing, and gas pipes enter your home from the exterior. Again, it’s worth talking with your handyman or a contractor about sealing any gaps that may have developed in these areas.

To heighten the effectiveness of your heating system and to maximize the warmth of your home during the colder months, it is crucial to have your home properly insulated and any gaps around doors and windows properly caulked and sealed. It is also beneficial for both energy savings as well as for safety reasons to have your heating system cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.

Not sure how your home measures up when it comes to energy savings? A home energy audit is a great way to confirm that your home is operating at maximum efficiency. Find out more about energy audits at energy.gov.