Home Renovation Happenings
About Me
Home Renovation Happenings

There is a lot to think about when you’re renovating a home. You need to make many decisions, starting with what contractor to use and how much money you want to spend. It helps if you have a clear vision for how you want your home to look when you’re done. If you’re not sure what it is that you want yet, take some time to look through my blog. I’ll discuss everything from home additions to flooring materials to appliances and fixtures. These articles will help you get a sense of the possibilities for your home renovation, and help you narrow down your options. Eventually, you’ll decide on the renovations that are right for you.

Home Renovation Happenings

Save Your Heating System: Find Drafts & Get Rid Of Them

Pamela Gonzales

Winter is coming, and it's a good idea to prepare your home ahead of time. That way, you can be ready for wintry conditions. Here are a few things you should do:

Find the drafts

It doesn't matter what type of heating system you have, it will work harder if there are a lot of drafts in your home. Heating systems that work harder to keep a home comfortable tend to have more mechanical problems, not to mention higher operating costs. Therefore, it's a good idea to find the drafts so you can get rid of them. That way, your heating system and wallet have a better chance of surviving the winter. Here's how: 

  1. Close all doors, windows, and vents (including basement and attic vents).
  2. Turn one vent fan on full force, such as the one in your kitchen.
  3. Light an incense stick and hold it close to areas where air leaks are common, such as around windows and doors and along baseboards (the smoke will move with more force when there is an air leak, or draft, nearby).
  4. Place a sticky note or a piece of tape at each leak you find so you can find them later.

Basically, what you are doing in this DIY test is using the natural chimney effect that all houses have to find and locate air leaks or drafts. The chimney effect is how heat rises to the attic in the winter and pulls in cool air through cracks. It produces a negative air pressure inside the home, which is what causes drafts to enter through cracks, especially in the basement. Therefore, do this throughout your entire home, not just in the living areas.

If you don't want to conduct this test yourself, you can hire a heating contractor to conduct a home energy audit with a blower door test. Essentially, this is the same test but on a larger scale. A blower door is a large fan that is placed in an exterior doorway. Of course, these larger fans will create a more drastic negative air pressure, which will pull more drafts into the home.

Seal the air leaks

Take a close look at each area where you placed sticky notes or tape. Look for obvious signs of air leaks, such as cracks and holes. If you find any, seal them with calking or spray foam insulation. If you can't find obvious signs of air leaks on the interior, take a look on the exterior side of the wall. Perhaps there is damage that needs attention on the exterior.

The two places where you may find the most air leaks are in your attic and basement. It may be a good idea to install insulation in your attic floor and waterproof your basement walls and floor, instead of trying to seal each crack or hole.

Control the chimney effect

Since heat does rise, you can help control the chimney effect that it creates by allowing equal amounts of cool air into your basement vents as what goes through the attic vents. The reason to do this is so that your entire home is at a consistent temperature. If this natural phenomenon is not controlled, rooms on the upper floor will be warmer than rooms on the lower floor. If you have a one-story home, the heat will rise to the ceilings.

This can make your heating system cycle on and off too often, which can cause it to breakdown, especially when the thermostat constantly reads a lower temperature than other areas of the home. Each time your heating system kicks on unnecessarily, you're wasting money on energy costs. If this does become an issues and you need heating repair, reach out to a local company.