With energy costs representing a significant strain on the budgets of lower and middle class Michigan families, finding ways to save money on heat can go a long way to help you stretch your paycheck. If you are part of the 53% of Michiganders who bring an annual income of $50,000 or less, you are spending an average of 21% of your after-tax income on energy. If you’re among the lowest income houses in the state-earning $10,000 or less-you’re paying a whopping 79% of your family’s income on energy. As energy prices continue to surge state-wide, the strain energy costs put on your household can be daunting and the last thing you need is to have your budget increased by wasted energy seeping through drafts in your home. That’s why we’ve put together a list of four easy tests to walk you through how to find drafts in your house!
Where to Start: Potential Sources
The first thing to do when seeking out drafts and air leaks in your home is to look in the right places. Typically, the main places where air leaks occur are:
- Attic holes
- Recessed lights, wiring, or plumbing
- Access hatches
- Windows & doors
- Fireplace dampers
- Air conditioners
- Electric outlets
Now that you know where to look, how do you test for an air leak? The easiest tests include a visual inspection, the smoke test, the dollar test, and the flashlight test.
#1: Visual Inspection
The simplest and easiest way to check for drafts and other leaks is to do a basic visual inspection. Look around the usual sources for air leakage, checking for cracks or gaps. Make note of any you see so that you can return to the source and fix them later.
#2: The Smoke Test
This test is best performed on a cool and windy day. First, turn off all appliances or stoves that create any sort of air disturbances. Next, close all windows, doors, and fireplace flues, then hold a stick of lit incense near any potential points of air leakage. If you see the smoke begin to move unsteadily back and forth, or if it is sucked out of or blown into the room entirely, you’ve found a leak.
#3: The Dollar Test
The dollar test will help you check for any gaps in your weather stripping around doors or windows. Simply close the door or window you’re checking with a dollar bill across the weather strip. If the dollar falls out, the gap is too large. If you can’t easily pull the dollar out, your weather stripping is functioning properly.
#4: The Flashlight Test
This two-person test is done at night and used to check the outside of your house. Have one person stay indoors with all the lights turned off while the second person goes outside and shines a light around the house. Any points where the person inside can see light coming in indicates the presence of a crack.
Check out our other Home Heating Tips that won’t break the bank!
Consider Getting an Energy Audit
A home energy audit is an inspection of your home by a professional. It helps you understand how you use energy, how your home uses energy, and identifies how you can reduce your energy usage. During an audit, a professional will inspect your home top to bottom, find out how you use your energy most, and discuss ways to reduce your energy usage, room-by-room. An auditor will ask you questions about your energy usage, come equipped with tools such as infrared cameras, and will analyze their findings by comparing your current energy bills to previous ones.
Contact Blissfield Heating & Plumbing to Get Started
If you’re seeking a home energy audit in Michigan, contact Blissfield Heating and Plumbing or give us a call at (517) 486-3575. Our team of professionals will audit your home and give you a wealth of energy-savings recommendations rooted in our 38 years of experience.
Contact us today to start saving energy!
8593 E US Hwy 223
Blissfield, MI 49228
Phone: (517) 486-3575