How can I better insulate and draft-proof my house to make it more energy- efficient?
Improving the insulation in your home and draft-proofing around windows, doors, and other areas are among the most cost-effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Taking these steps can significantly reduce your heating and air-conditioning needs, without sacrificing comfort. Here are some tips and tools on what you can do reduce air leaks in your home and save money.
Upgrade your home’s insulation
- If you are building a new house, consider going beyond the standard insulation requirements. Superior insulation, properly installed, will significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs over time.
- In an existing house, inspect the areas that lose the most heat, such as attics, basements and crawlspaces. Generally, the attic is the most cost-effective place to add insulation. A well-insulated attic can reduce a home’s year-round energy use by 20% to 60% and save you money.
- If you are considering a new heating system, but haven't upgraded your insulation, it’s best to insulate first. With improved insulation, you might be able to invest in a smaller, less expensive heating system.
Source: BC Hydro
Eliminate drafts and air leaks in your home
- Inspect your home carefully by running your hand along windowsills, doors and exterior walls to feel for cold drafts. In many homes, up to 20% of all heat is lost through gaps and cracks that let cold air into your home. Another hint: Look for spider webs because spiders like to build their webs where there's a draft.
- Install weather-stripping to block any leaks around your doors and windows and apply caulking to stop leaks in or around your window frames, along baseboards, and around pipes or vents.
- Search the web for helpful advice. There are excellent videos and step-by-step guides on the web that explain how to find and seal air leaks in your home.
- Consult with staff at your local home improvement or hardware store for help on choosing the right product for your problem areas. They may also be able to recommend someone to do the work for you if you need help.
- Periodically check the weather-stripping and caulking around problem areas for wear and tear.
Cover your windows
- Don’t’ throw your money away by not installing curtains, blinds or other coverings on your windows. Windows can account for up to 25% of a house’s heat loss.
- In the winter, close all your window coverings to keep the heat in and the cold out — at night, when you’re not at home, and on very cold days. When the sun is shining, open window coverings to let the heat in.
- In the summer, keep window coverings closed to keep the heat out, especially on very hot days.