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Conserving Home Energy

The most efficient way to save money on energy bills is to use less fuel. At one time this idea was taken as a matter of course in homes. Some companies use before-and-after thermographs are a diagnostic tool and may include them free. Heavy shutters helped homeowners keep their houses warm in winter, and cool in summer. Bushes were planted with an eye to protecting the home from weather and not used only for decoration. Chimneys ran through the center of the house rather than along the outside. Homes were dense, not rambling, and designed to draw family members together not only for discussion but also to share body heat. In many farm homes even animal heat was used seldom by sharing living quarters with a goat or cow, or by sheltering large animals in a space next to or under the family’s living quarters. The need to save fuel influenced customs and manners too.

With the beginning of the energy crisis, many old practices are being re-energized. These techniques, when united with modern insulation and weather stripping allow us to immunize our homes against weather to a degree unimagined by our ancestors.

Thermographs of your house will show you where heat is being lost and how great the loss is. Bright yellow areas are location of the greatest heat loss, while red, light blue and dark blue indicate progressively less heat loss. Typically the badly insulated roof shows up as a major source of leakage. Thermographs are taken at night to avoid false effects due to daylight, and professionals must be hired to take them because of the high cost of the special infrared equipment that is used. If you are planning to have new insulation and weather stripping installed in your home ask the contractor if he will provide a thermograph. Some companies use before and after thermographs as a diagnostic tool and may include them free of cost.

Where heat leaks out and cold leaks in:

  • Heat loss through gaps between siding and eaves
  • Cracks at corners of siding
  • Poorly insulated walls
  • Cracks where wood structure meets foundation
  • Heat loss from open or loose-fitting damper in unused fireplaces
  • Poorly insulated roof
  • Unfinished, uninsulated walls between garage and house
  • Open or loose-fitting garage door
  • Poorly caulked holes for water taps, antenna wires, and utility cables

Windows:

  • Heat loss through window glass
  • Loose fitting sashes
  • Unlatched windows, incompletely shut
  • Gaps between siding and window frame
  • Loose fitting storm windows