5 Tricks to Reduce Your Home's Heat Loss

Lower the heating bill and help the environment with these energy-smart tips

Reducing the amount of heat loss in your home can help the environment, and it can save you a bunch of your hard-earned cash. Some heat loss reduction methods may require an investment, but it will be worth it when the electric bill comes. Here are some simple ways to keep your house toasty this winter that don't involve cranking up the thermostat.

Insulate your attic

Hot air rises, and unfortunately a good bit of your heating escapes through the roof. Placing a layer of insulation in the attic or crawlspace of your home can trap more of that heat where you want it. The California Energy Commission reports that, in older homes, adding attic insulation is the single most cost-effective way to reduce your heating bill.

Add double-glazed windows

Up to 20 percent of a home's heat loss can be accounted for by poorly insulated windows, according to Green Energy Saving, an organization founded to inform individuals and small businesses about practical energy-saving methods. Double-glazed windows have two panes of glass, and the air in between those two panes acts as an insulating boundary between the cold outdoor air and your heated indoor air. Double-glazed windows aren't cheap, but they pay for themselves in the long run.

Seal up your doors

According to the Edison Electric Institute, an organization that provides power industry statistics and helps lead the formation of public policy on energy issues, drafty doors and entrances could account for 15-30 percent of a home's total heating costs. Simply placing weather-stripping and caulking over open spaces and gaps around doorframes can cut down on wasted energy.

Insulate your walls

Your walls comprise most of the outer surface area of your home. Many homes have cavity insulation in the walls, and upgrading to a material with a higher insulating value might reduce heating bills. If you're adding insulation to previously existing walls without large insulation cavities, the U.S. Department of Energy encourages the use of sprayed-foam insulation, since it can conform to any shape and can be used in even the tightest gaps.

Seal up miscellaneous leaks

Electric wall outlets and switches can cause heat loss. Pre-sized foam gaskets are available at hardware stores to block off any gaps around wall fixtures. And finally, don't forget to close the damper in your fireplace when not in use. If you have glass doors in front of the fireplace, keep them closed as well. An open fireplace is a great escape route for hot air.

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