Preventing heat loss through air vents and windows is simply a matter of awareness. Where possible, close the curtains on your windows and glass doors. This prevents heat from escaping and also keeps the heat out in the summer months. It also makes sense to choose windows that work more efficiently for your home if you're remodeling or building a home. New technologies make it possible to save up to 26 percent in annual heating costs by purchasing energy-efficient thermal windows for typical homes [source: EfficientWindows.org].
If you can't afford to replace your windows, try weatherizing windows and doors. Families who weatherize might enjoy up to $437 in annual energy savings. The U.S. Department of Energy offers a Weatherization Assistance Program to help low-income families make their homes more energy efficient [source: DOE]. Weatherizing means looking for cracks and gaps where air could leak and closing them with caulk or weather stripping. One way to do this is to hire a technician to detect air leakage, but you can depressurize your home by turning off the furnace on a cool, windy day and shutting all doors and windows. Then, turn on all fans that blow air outside (such as the one over the stove or in bathroom ceilings). Lighting an incense stick and passing it around the edges of windows and other leaky sites will show those spots where smoke is either sucked out or blown into the room -- those are areas of leaks and gaps [source: Federal Citizen Information]. It can take up to one-half cartridge of caulk to seal each window.
Closing vents in unused rooms and keeping the doors to these rooms shut saves energy from heating areas that nobody enters. It also helps to keep an eye on humidity levels -- a house full of dry air can feel colder than it actually is. Finally, ensure that your fireplace flue is closed when the fireplace is not in use. This prevents the heat loss that occurs when updrafts draw warm air up and out through the chimney. Even if you can't fully prevent heat loss in your home, you can minimize it where possible, which will save energy and save you money.
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