(MS) - Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature becomes an increasingly expensive proposition with steadily rising energy costs. With the full force of winter upon us, you can keep air leakage and energy loss in check with a mini energy audit of your home that includes these three quick stops:
Check for drafts - Air leakage (especially in the basement, on the main floor or through a windward-facing wall) can make your home drafty, uncomfortable and difficult to heat, no matter how much you turn up the thermostat. Address air leakage by plugging the biggest leaks first, such as in the attic and around electrical holes, plumbing vents, basement rim joists (where the foundation meets the wood framing), recessed lighting, windows and doors.
Check your insulation - If you have conventional fiberglass or cellulose insulation, settling and sagging can compromise its performance and lead to a big hit on your energy bills. Look for gaps and signs of moisture problems in your insulation, especially in the attic, in the basement and in the room over the garage. If you’re planning home improvements or an addition, consider installing an insulation/air barrier (like innovative Icynene) for complete air sealing and energy savings of up to 50 percent over conventional insulation. More information about your insulation options is available online at www.icynene.com.
Check your furnace - How old is your furnace? If it pre-dates 1992, it might only operate at about 55 to 78 percent efficiency. A new Energy Star-qualified furnace can operate above 90 percent efficiency as a result of more efficient heat exchangers and electronic ignition.