THE HOME Having moved my family into a larger house, one of my first concerns was: How much will my utility bills increase to heat/cool the extra square footage? I’m the dad after all, so it’s my job to follow my kids around and turn off all the light switches they leave on. “Close the door! Are you trying to air-condition the entire neighborhood?” is a chestnut I picked up from my old man and now use to chastise the people in my household. In effort to head off trouble at the pass, I decided to examine the house for leaks in the building envelope, hoping to seal up any problem areas and reduce energy loss before I ever get the first power bill. Assuming your HVAC system is in good work- ing order, the best place to start this process is getting to know all your windows, doors and attic. SIGNS OF TROUBLE Look for any cracks or holes around exte- rior doors, windows and electrical outlets. A good rule of thumb is that if you see any day- light shining through the joints around doors or windows, it’s a sign they need to be sealed. Another good test is to hold a candle near the panes of your closed windows. If you notice the candle flame flicker, then it’s a sign there is unwanted airflow which needs to be sealed. Apply a caulk/sealant where necessary to prevent air from escap- ing the home.
By Matt Weber