4. Install a Chimney Balloon (or similar product)
One of the biggest holes in many older homes is the chimney. Some older fireplaces have no damper, and a lot of air can leak in or out of the house there. The Chimney Balloon is a great product for filling that hole and reducing air leakage and drafts.
Jeffrey Sauls here at Energy Vanguard put one in his house and cut his measured air leakage by nearly 20% with just that one measure. (His blower door result went from 5700 cfm50 to 4700 cfm50.)
5. Get fitted for Indow Windows
Does condensation collect on your windows? If you have single pane windows, the glass will be very cold in winter. When the dew point of the air in your home is higher than the window temperature, your window becomes a dehumidifier.
One way to solve that problem is to put another surface between the window and the home’s air. Plastic films have been around for decades to help with this. I’ve even seen some winterization articles suggest using bubble wrap.
A much more elegant way to do it, though, would be to use Indow Windows. These are basically interior storm windows that make a nice snug seal in the window frame. They help prevent condensation as well as reduce heat loss through the windows.
6. Fix any disconnected ducts
That photo of the disconnected duct at the top of the article is one of many in my collection. This is not an uncommon failure in homes. When all or most of the heated air that’s supposed to be going to a room is instead dumped into the attic, crawl space, or basement, you have a big opportunity to improve your comfort and cut your heating bills. If you’re in snow country, you also might solve or reduce your ice dam problem.
7. Get rid of unvented space heaters
I’ve been writing about this since the beginning of this blog. Unvented combustion space heaters put a lot of water vapor into your home’s air. They have the potential to put carbon monoxide into the air, too. They’re just not a good idea at all. If you really want to use a space heater, get an electric one. If you heat your entire home with unvented space heaters, it’s time to consider upgrading to a safer and more efficient system.
8. Make your attic insulation flat, not lumpy
The same amount of insulation in your attic can either drain your wallet and keep your cold, or save you money and keep you warm. It depends on how it’s installed. Ideally, the insulation should provide a complete and uniform coverage. If it’s lumpy, you’ll have a lot more heat loss.
See my Flat or Lumpy article for details.