3 Ways to Pinpoint Where Your Home Is Leaking Money

What's Hot

23 Upgrades Under $50 to Make Your House Look AwesomeAround The House

Trump Worth $10 Billion Less Than If He’d Simply Invested in Index FundsBusiness

Do This or Your iPhone Bill May SkyrocketSave

11 Places in the World Where You Can Afford to Retire in StyleMore

19 Moves That Will Help You Retire Early and in StyleFamily

What You Need to Know for 2017 Obamacare EnrollmentFamily

8 Things Rich People Buy That Make Them Look DumbAround The House

50 Ways to Make a Fast $50 (or Lots More)Grow

32 of the Highest-Paid American SpeakersMake

The 35 Two-Year Colleges That Produce the Highest EarnersCollege

5 DIY Ways to Make Your Car Smell GreatCars

Amazon Prime No Longer Pledges Free 2-Day Shipping on All ItemsMore

More Caffeine Means Less Dementia for WomenFamily

7 Household Hacks That Save You CashAround The House

5 Reasons a Roth IRA Should Be Part of Your Retirement PlanGrow

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

Beware These 10 Retail Sales Tricks That Get You to Spend MoreMore

9 Tips to Ensure You’ll Have Enough to RetireFamily

A draft you can feel indoors is a sure sign that cold air is seeping into your home -- and expensive heated air is leaking out.

The winter of 2014-2015 is predicted to be milder than last year’s, giving households a bit of a break on heat bills. Because of warmer temperatures and lower prices, Bloomberg says, household spending on heating oil is expected to drop an average of 15 percent and fall 5 percent for natural gas.

Here’s a suggestion: Spend this year’s savings plugging air leaks, and you will reduce heating and cooling costs by 5 to 30 percent a year, says Energy.gov. A home energy audit shows you exactly where cold air is sneaking into your home.

Here are three ways to do an energy audit, from cheap to expensive:

Cheapest: DIY approach

Use this approach if: You have not yet tried finding your home’s leaks.

Cost: Your time plus supplies.

  1. Assemble your equipment:
  • Caulking gun and caulk.
  • A stick of incense or a candle.
  • Sticky-backed foam weatherstripping.
  • A ladder.
  • A flashlight.
  • Clipboard, pencil and paper.
  1. Turn off heat sources. These include gas hot water heaters and freestanding heating stoves or fireplaces. Close vents and dampers. Turn on all exhaust fans, including in bathrooms, the kitchen and laundry room, to create negative pressure, which helps in spotting leaks.
  2. Investigate. Walk along the inside of your home’s outer walls, moving the lit candle or incense near the surfaces of windows, walls and doors, paying special attention where you suspect cold air may be leaking in. Carefully examine light fixtures, electrical outlets, plumbing pipes and any place the building’s exterior has been penetrated. A candle flame will flicker and incense smoke will waver in front of a draft. Write down the location of each leak so you can return to fix them.
  3. Or try this. Wet your hand and feel for drafts. More places for special attention: where different types of materials meet: seams between the foundation and walls, for example, or where exterior siding meets windows or a chimney. An Energy.gov article on air sealing illustrates 19 common spots for air leaks, including:
  • A whole-house fan.
  • Ducts.
  • Common walls between attached dwellings.
  • Recessed lighting.
  • Fireplace walls.
  • Staircase framing along an exterior wall.

Learn more:

More expensive: Use a thermal leak detector

Use this approach if:

  • Your home has leaks, but you can’t find them and you’re not ready to call in a professional.
  • You want to check insulation behind walls.

Cost: You’ll find detectors for home use for $50 or less. These two receive generally favorable reviews from Amazon.com users:

Learn more:

  • Before purchasing, read product reviews and review manufacturers’ sites for specifications and instructions and learn what to expect from the tool and how to use it.
  • Good Housekeeping reviewed several thermal leak detectors.

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,669 more deals!