As the temperature drops, you might end up feeling the chill even inside your home.
This is the kind of weather when lots of people are suddenly going to notice some icy cold drafts in their homes.
“All homes need a certain amount of fresh air,” said Keith Saunders, a Home Comfort Specialist with Larry Janesky’s Dr. Energy Saver of Connecticut. “But we usually find most homes, especially older homes, leak more than two to three times what they should.”
Saunders should know. He teaches technicians at the country’s largest energy conservation training center in Seymour.
“So, some of the leaks that we encounter in our homes are things like recessed can lights in our ceiling.”
Lights that make a hole in the ceiling mean a hole in the attic insulation.
“They cut a hole in the sheetrock and install the light,” Saunders said. “The light has all sorts of holes in it. I can actually see down into the room below.”
The solution is to put on can light covers, sealed in place.
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“So that we can cover them and they’re no longer going to be a source of heat loss,” Saunders explained.
Also, that pink fiberglass insulation you’ve seen for years is not really that good, according to Saunders. Professionals like Dr. Energy Saver use cellulose insulation, which is basically ground up newspaper, and pump that into attics.
Of course, it’s not just the top of the house. Drafts can come through any hole in the wall for light switches and outlets, and from the basement, too.
“So, if you’re sitting up here and you feel cold air coming up from the basement or cold floors, it’s oftentimes because the rim joist, the piece of wood that attaches to the foundation, is not insulated,” Saunders said.
Spray foam insulation can solve that problem. Ironically, even your chimney can be making your house colder with gaps between it and the rest of the house.
“We’ve installed metal flashing, fire-rated caulking and fireproof rockwall insulation,” Saunders said, pointing to the teaching example in the training center. “We’re going to finish this up to seal around the chimney with fireproof materials and we can safely insulate against here to close this gap.”
Saunders said that when they come in and fully insulate a home, on average, they end up reducing fuel and energy consumption by about a third.