Stop heat loss from the interior of your home

4:57 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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(NEWS CENTER) -- With colder weather now here, many people are noticing little areas in their house that aren't as warm as others. Odds are pretty good cold air is getting in. Tony Gill, a heating expert from Maine State Housing, showed NEWS CENTER's Tim Goff how to eliminate many of the heat thieves in your home.



Homes are built on foundations, many which have bulkhead doors, so that seems like a logical place to start looking for places to stop heat loss from your home.

"Typically, when you look at them from the inside, you'll notice you have a huge opportunity for heat loss, you can see air, daylight around the edges. Someone has started to do some work on this one. We have a piece of styrofoam laying on top of this edge right here, excellent idea," said Gill.

In this home, the windows have the foam board insulation as well, but it is not working properly.

"You can see there is air is coming around that, air has plenty of opportunity to come around that. So styrofoam is helpful, but it is not doing the good it could do, just needs one more little teeny bit."

Here's a fix we all can do.

"Heat, when it comes to something, it stops. Air follows the path of least resistance, any time there is a chance for air to move, it is going to go. So what we've done is allow that piece of styrofoam to function at what you bought."

Another major source of heat loss, the chimney.

"Someone has jammed fiberglass up in here in an attempt to stop air movement up into the attic, if you can see how much dirt there is in the fiberglass, and you see what else we are getting. There are squirrels in the attic."

"But see how black that is, that is all air that has been moving through the fiberglass and the dirt has been filtered out."

"Insulation stops conductive heat loss, it does not stop air."

The fix? Using a few screws, galvanized metal drip edge, like you would use on your roof and high temp caulk, you can stop heat from rising along your chimney and out of your house.

"what this does is it gives this edge a nice rigidity. If you put this side up towards the chimney then it won't be sliding up and down on you, it will sit right in one place, very easy to caulk right in place."

"This needs to be cut to fit. Obviously we haven't exactly cut this one, but it is pretty close though. This goes right into place. Dry wall screws right in here, bang, bang, bang caulk along this edge and you're done."

You should do the same in your attic.

"If we pull this batt out, can you see the dirt? Now I know there is no way of filming air moving but can you see that, yes you can, you can see the air coming up from the cellar making that little tindle of fiberglass flutter."

If you can only afford to do one, the attic is the most important as it keeps all the heat from flowing out of the living areas.

"These strips are about five dollars, so you are probably looking at a total cost of about $20 dollars by the time you buy the caulking, for this house, it has large chimneys. With a single chimney, with a small chimney, a single strip should be enough for each penetration."


If you don't use your attic often, Tony suggests you screw your attic door closed, then seal the edges with rope caulk.

"If we put the caulk up there before, every time somebody opened and closed the door it would move around a little bit and sooner or later the caulk would be falling down."

"Just like that. I think we are in pretty good shape."

So, we're almost done and about to head for our homes when....

"So upon opening the door, we looked out here and it is pretty nicely weather-stripped, it is in fact double weather-stripped. The issue is the weather strip right here has worked loose. All it really needs to be is there little screws need to be tightened back up and a little caulking put on so that it is held right tight in place."

Tony has one final piece of advice for those of you thinking about getting your home closed up for the winter.



"it is just a matter of detail. You will find an awful lot of the work that we've talked about through the day has been detail. And it is around the issue that most people will say that is too small to bother with. The issue is, when you add up all these too smalls, you've got a big."

Conversely, all these little fixes can add up to big savings on your heating costs this winter.

This story was originally posted on November 17, 2008. 


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