Is Your Home Suffering from Heat Loss?

Fall is typically the season we prepare ourselves for winter – cups of hot chocolate, a pot of homemade soup on the stove, a fire in the fireplace on movie night. We turn on the heat to keep us cozy throughout the cooler autumn nights and cold winter days. It’s important our furnaces keep us and the inside of our homes warm. The last thing we want to do is heat the outside. Here are some signs that your home is suffering from heat loss.

Energy bills are higher.

Energy bills that are higher than normal for four or more months in a row are one of the signs your home suffers from heat loss. Another way to confirm that the higher costs aren’t a fluke, compare the current energy bill totals with the invoices for the same months of the previous year. If this year’s invoices are significantly higher than last year’s then it is most likely air is escaping from your home.

Rooms are drafty.

If you can feel a draft in one or more rooms of the house, cold air is probably coming inside from the windows or a gap underneath the front door. Over 35% of a home’s heat loss can be contributed to windows (broken panes, gaps between window and trim, older single pane glass), while approximately 10% is the result of cold air entering by the doors (gaps, old trim in need of caulking).

Room temperature fluctuates.

Heat can escape through the interior walls of your home. A sure sign that this is happening in your house is the room temperature fluctuates dramatically from normal to low. Related to fluctuating room temperature, another sign is when a particular room is consistently colder than any of the others.

See gaps around outlets and fixtures.

Cold air can come in and warm air can escape outside through visible gaps around outlets, switches, and fixtures.  Noticeable gaps at junctures where walls and floors meet are another way cold air can enter your home.

Frost isn’t on the roof.

When frost isn’t on your roof but appears on the roofs of other houses in the neighbourhood, it could be an indication of heat loss through your roof. Warm air escaping from the attic heats up the roof enough to melt the frost.

Ice dams form on the roof.

Ice dams form on a roof when the heat that escapes from the attic warms up the roof and melts the snow. When the temperature drops again, the water freezes. As the temperature warms up, the melting snow is prevented from flowing down the roof into the gutters by the ice dam. Because an ice dam typically forms at the edge of the roof, homeowners often think it is the gutters causing the problem, when in fact it is the result of heat loss from the attic or roofing system.

Pipes freeze when outdoor temperatures drop.

If you turn on a tap and little or no water flows out, the pipes could be frozen. Or when you see actual ice or frost on a pipe in your home, the pipe is frozen. Typically pipes freeze when outdoor temperatures drop due to insulation issues (non-existent, not enough, too old to be effective). Frozen pipes can burst, resulting in flooding, other types of water damage, and/or mold growth.