In theory, once you heated your home to the desired temperature, your furnace would never click on again. Because of a phenomenon called home heat loss, however, your furnace constantly has to cycle on and off to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. Listed below are three areas where your home might be losing heat along with solutions to combat the drain.
Windows and Doors
Although a spring breeze sweeping through your home is refreshing, you don’t want air seeping in through your doors and windows in the winter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air leaks around doors account for 18-20 percent of heat loss in a typical home; drafty windows account for up to 30 percent of heat loss. A 1/8-inch gap under an exterior door lets as much cold air in as a 2 ½-inch hole punched in the wall. Applying weather-stripping and caulking will significantly cut your heat loss in both areas.
The U-factor measures a window’s efficiency. A single-pane window is U1, which means that for each degree your home is warmer than the air outside, each square foot of glass leaks one BTU of heat every hour. Average winter temperatures in Schaumburg hover around 20; if you set your thermostat at 70, a 3-foot-by-4-foot window leaks 600 BTUs of heat an hour. Upgrading to Energy Star windows with a U-factor between .30 and .32 will drastically reduce window heat loss. Also, consider installing low-e storm windows; they will pay for themselves in two to five years.
One of the lessons you learned as a youngster is that hot air rises. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that 25 percent of your home’s heat loss is through the attic. Insulating your attic can save as much as 20 percent on your energy bill. If you spend $600, that equates to a $120 savings; that’s enough for a week’s worth of groceries. As an added incentive, insulation has a payback time of five to six years.
The adage out of sight, out of mind applies to your home’s ductwork. Poorly sealed or insulated ductwork can add hundreds of dollars to your fuel bill each year. In addition to losing heated air into unconditioned spaces, leaky air ducts draw cold, unconditioned air into your return ducts. Having the professionals at Ray’s HVAC seal and insulate your home’s air ducts is an easy way to derail this hidden source of heat loss.
Reducing home heat loss means you will have more discretionary income that you can use for family movie night or your child’s education fund. In addition to reducing your heating bills, identifying and fixing these areas of heat loss can earn you rewards through Illinois’ Citizens Utility Board program. For savings and greater comfort, contact one of the comfort specialists at Ray’s HVAC or call 847-637-5287.