Utility Bill Assistance



How to Save Money on Utility Bills by Sealing Home Air Leaks

Small air leaks can have a big impact on your utility bill. It is imperative to both find them and also seal them. You can do it yourself (for a very low cost) or spend a little money in hiring some one to seal up your home. Note some utility companies will also offer this for free (or discounted rates) to their customers.

By sealing leaks and insulating your home, you can boost your comfort level year-round and save as much as 10 to 20 percent on utility bills. This can equate to hundreds of dollars per year. Explore problem areas and learn how air sealing increases your comfort in summer and winter alike.

Problem Areas for Air Leaks

Older homes tend to lack sufficient insulation; they may have air leaks around doors and windows, too. Sealing leaks in an older home may lead you and your family to save benefit from the high end of utility bill savings – as much as 20% on heating, cooling, and energy bills. The biggest problem areas include:

  • Attics - If the attic is not sufficiently insulated, you could experience drafts, dust in the home, pests, or ice dams in winter
  • Basements - Leaks in the basement lead to increased pest presence and potential water damage
  • Doors and windows - Homes feel drafty when doors and windows have gaps; certain rooms may feel chillier than others





To tell exactly where your home is leaking air, consider home energy assessments, where professionals inspect your home, find air leaks, and show you how to improve your home's energy efficiency. To do this cheaply, first, call your utility company. They may do this for free or have a list of approved or discounted contractors While home improvements cost money, the energy assessments are usually free. Also inquire into weatherization, which helps low income families save money on heating and utility bills from conservation measures, including the sealing of air leaks.

Energy assessors will provide you with a list of home improvements to boost energy efficiency as well as an estimate. It will be a line item, so you can do some or all of the requted updates. Once you know the work your home needs and the typical cost, you can begin to budget for home improvements that increase energy efficiency.

Benefits of Sealing Air Leaks

Air leaks allow cool air to leak out during summer and warm air to leak out in winter, which means your home heating and cooling systems will struggle to perform efficiently. As noted, older homes (generally those build before 2010 or so) will experience the biggest benefits. Sealing air leaks will save you money because your heating system and air conditioner can then perform as intended.

Sealing leaks will also increase your comfort throughout the year without necessitating a change in the thermostat temperature. You and your family can sit in any room and be comfortable at all times of the year and not feel any drafts.

Insulation has added benefits of improving indoor air quality, reducing ambient noise, and controlling for summertime humidity. It will also help a home keep the resale value.





Fix the leaks

These projects are accessible to do-it-yourselfers who have time and basic knowledge. Apply weatherstripping tape or film to doors and windows, and apply caulk to gaps. Close the gaps, and cut back on leaks, between the door and frame of your home. Rent equipment to install blown-in insulation yourself or purchase batting, which can be pressed into place. Seal up the area where plumbing comes into your home.

Even do other simple things to stop air leaks. Ensure the fireplace damper is closed. Put a cover on your windows during the winter to save on heating bills. Ensure all doors are always closed to the exterior. All of these are quick and simple DIY steps to stop leakage.

If you lack the time or inclination, hire a professional to do these tasks for you. Shop around for an approved contractor with the lowest rates, and as noted, call your utility company for recommendations.

After the initial expense (whether the minimal cost of DIY or hiring someone), you should start to save money each month. Soon, the project will have paid for itself, and you'll begin to save money on home heating and cooling costs. As noted, 10-20% reduction in a monthly utility bill adds up over the months!

By: Jon McNamara


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