These often overlooked
sources of heat loss and air leakage can cause your heat to pour out and the cold outside
air pour in costing you higher heating bills, causing cold drafts, and wasting
Air leaks are the largest source of heating and cooling loss in the
home. Air leaks occur through the small cracks around doors, windows, pipes, etc. We apply
caulk and weatherstripping to these areas to minimize heat loss and cold drafts.
But what can you do about the three largest "holes" in your
home the folding attic stair, the fireplace, and the clothes dryer? Here are some
tips and techniques that can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these
Do you have a folding attic stairway in your house? When attic stairs
are installed, a large hole (approximately 10 square feet!) is created in your ceiling.
The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed. And what is installed to
cover this opening? A thin, unsealed, un-insulated sheet of plywood!
Did you know that your attic space is ventilated directly to the
outdoors? In the winter, the attic space can be very cold, and in the summer it can be
very hot. And what is separating your conditioned house from your unconditioned attic?
That thin sheet of plywood!
Often a gap can be observed around the perimeter of the door. Try this
yourself: at night when it is dark, turn on the attic light and shut the attic stairway
door - do you see any light coming through? These are gaps - which add up to a large
opening where your heated/cooled air leaks out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a
year! This is like leaving a window open all year round!
An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an attic stair
cover. An attic stair cover provides an air seal, reducing the air leaks. Add the desired
amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling.
Approximately 100 million homes in North America are constructed with
wood or gas burning fireplaces. Unfortunately there are negative side effects that the
fireplace brings to a home especially during the winter home-heating season. Fireplaces
are energy losers!
Researchers have studied this to determine the amount of heat loss
through a fireplace, and the results are amazing! One remarkable research study showed
that an open damper on an unused fireplace in a well-insulated house can raise overall
heating energy consumption by 30%!
A recent study showed that for many consumers, their heating bills may
be more than $500 higher per winter just due to the air leakage and wasted energy caused
Why Does a Home With a Fireplace Have Higher Heating Bills? Hot air
rises! Your heated air leaks out any exit it can find, and when your warm heated air is
drawn out of your home, cold outside air is drawn in to make up for it. The fireplace is
like a giant straw - sucking the heated air from your house. This is like leaving a window
open all year round!
An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a fireplace
draftstopper. A fireplace draftstopper is an inflatable pillow that seals the damper,
eliminating any air leaks. The pillow removed whenever the fireplace is used, then
Dryer Exhaust Ducts:
Have you ever noticed that the room containing your clothes dryer is
the coldest room in your house? Ever wonder why? Your clothes dryer is connected to an
exhaust duct that is open to the outdoors. In the winter, cold air leaks in through the
duct, through your dryer and into your house, while your heated air just pours right out!
Dryer vents use a sheet metal flapper to try to reduce this air
leakage. This is very primitive technology that does not provide a positive seal to stop
the air leakage. Compounding the problem is that over time, lint clogs the flapper valve
causing it to stay open. This is like leaving a window open all year round!
An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a dryer vent seal!
A dryer vent seal will reduce unwanted air infiltration, and keep out pests, bees and
rodents as well. The vent will remain closed unless the dryer is in use. When the dryer is
in use, a floating shuttle rises to allow warm air, lint, and moisture to escape.
If your home has a folding attic stair, a fireplace, and/or a clothes
dryer, you can easily, quickly, and inexpensively seal and insulate these holes. At Battic
Door, we have developed low-cost, green solutions to these and other energy-conservation