No matter what season it is, it is always a good idea to have a handle on your energy cost. Predictable, lower energy costs can mean that your HVAC system is running smoothly and efficiently. It can also mean that your home is well-insulated and sealed from outside leaks. On the other hand, exorbitant energy costs over time can represent a breakdown in this system, which could likely be due to energy leaks.
Plainly put, energy leaks make it harder for HVAC systems to reach their preset temperatures, which means they run longer. And all the while, all the air that they are pushing into the home is escaping through these energy leaks, keeping the cycle going and your costs up.
So if you are considering buying an older home or are currently living in one, here are five ways to tell if your home is losing energy.
Certain parts of your home are drafty
The most common areas for energy leaks are around windows and doors. However, energy leaks can also occur around pipes, wires, and outlets. The good news about many of these is that caulking and weatherstripping can fix the majority of these problems.
The insulation in your walls and ceiling is old and insufficient
Older homes can be especially susceptible to insufficient insulation, as newer cooling systems may have different requirements. Checking the attic is a good barometer test as to the level of insulation throughout the home. If there are any anomalies, such as damaged/missing insulation, this could lead to heat literally going through the roof.
Your windows and/or doors rattle a lot
Unstable windows and doors can be indicative of energy leaks due to movement. If you find your front door wiggling in the jamb after you close it or that you are able to move your window back and forth now as well as up and down, the movement that can come from their everyday use or the wind blowing on them is enough to cause an energy leak. New weatherstripping or caulking will fix the problem, usually.
You can see sunlight through gaps you did not originally see
Inspect your windows and doors in daylight; if you can see light, you have an energy leak. As leaks are most likely to occur around windows and doors, the easiest way to check for energy leaks is to inspect the perimeter of your windows and doors. If you see light, you have a leak to repair.
Your incense burner always seems to go to the same place
In normal settings, smoke from burnt incense travels upwards. But if you happen to notice this or any other smoke traveling to a certain part of the house, like an outlet, window, or door, it is likely due to an energy leak.
In the end, after performing all of these tests and you still are not sure if you have energy leaks, call a professional. They can perform an energy audit on the house and even have a way of testing for multiple leaks at the same time.