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It's getting chilly outside; chances are your home is leaking air and costing you money, right now.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program, you can save as much as 20 percent of your heating and cooling costs by effectively sealing and insulating your home.

Just stopping the obvious air drafts around your windows and under your door won’t save you as much energy- or money as you might think.

Air leaks are uncomfortable when they are obvious- but they cost you the most when you can’t see them.

Energy Star points to hidden culprits most often tucked away in your attic or basement as the sources of the most significant air leaks in your home.

A professional home energy audit is the best way to see where your home is losing energy and where you can save it.

However, there are steps you can take to get started and begin enjoying energy savings. You can start this weekend.

1-Visually inspect your home to identify air leaks. Pay close attention to the ‘building envelope’ of your home and make a note of any gaps or cracks around the windows, doors or in the outer walls of your home. Also keep in mind most air leaks occur where two different building materials meet, such as siding and brick.

2-Conduct a DIY smoke test to find less obvious sources of air drafts including attic hatches, wiring holes like electrical outlets, recessed lighting, furnace ducts and plumbing vents. Choose a windy day and turn off all vents or appliances that cause air disturbances. Shut all of your doors and windows- and don’t forget to close the fireplace flue. Carefully light a stick of incense and hold it near any common leak sites, especially in the basement and the attic. If smoke wavers or is sucked out of the room- you have found a leak in your home.

3-Gather your materials and start sealing. You will want to use the best material for the type of leak. Weatherstripping is best to stop leaks in items that move, such as doors or between the frames and windows. Caulking and spray best for sealing stationary objects including the window frame itself or outside walls. Energy Star suggests using caulk on holes less than ½ inch and spray foam on holes up to 3 inches. Use insulation for holes any bigger than 3 inches.

While you are working to ensure you are keeping all of your heating indoors, why not give us a call to schedule a tune-up for your furnace? A tune-up will ensure your furnace operates as efficiently as possible.