The reason why your heating bill keeps rising might surprise you!
As you take steps to make your home more energy efficient, be sure to look beyond the care and maintenance of your furnace and thermostat.
These are important, but there’s so much more to consider.
The average American home is filled with cracks, crevices and gaps which let warm air out and cold air in during cooler months. You might not realize that heat loss from exterior doors accounts for 11% of the overall heat loss in a typical home and this number can be even higher depending on the age of the home and condition of the door.
Perhaps the biggest surprise could be the heat leaking out of your side door.
Of course, you’re probably paying the most attention to your front door. It’s where you enter and exit each day and may even be situated near a family room where you spend time. You’re more likely to notice a draft from your front door, but what about the side door that you don’t use as often and which remains mostly ignored?
It could be a major part of your heat loss problem too!
Here are 3 ways to check for heat loss from the side door (or any exterior door) of your home:
1. Do a visual inspection
Is sunlight streaming through the space between the door and the frame? Is there damage or visible wear and tear on the door, the frame or, if there is one, the window in the door? Make note and attend to any problems.
2. Conduct a “smoke test”
Stand inside your home near your side door (with it completely closed). Carefully light a stick of incense and hold it near the door- especially by the edges of the door and, if there’s a window, by the window too. If the smoke from the incense is drawn toward the door or window, this is a place you are probably losing heat.
3. Schedule an energy audit
Call in a professional who has the equipment and expertise to detect energy leaks around your home, including your side door. Contact your local Better Business Bureau to find a qualified energy auditor.
What to do if you find a leak…
A first step could be to install weatherproofing. This is relatively inexpensive and can make your side door more energy efficient. It’s also easy to do. Weatherproofing is available at home improvement stores and comes in varieties like:foam rubber, felt, vinyl and even magnetic (for steel doors). If your side door has a window, you can apply caulk at the seal to prevent heat loss. Again, this is a simple and inexpensive measure.
You might decide that it’s time for a brand new door or a new window for your existing door. There are many options to choose from so get creative! You can feel good knowing that your investment will contribute to lowering your heating bill and making your home more comfortable no matter what the weather.
Source: Washington Post 2/5/13