How to keep cold air from coming into your home

Posted at 8:46 AM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 08:46:27-05

The bitter cold has many people going right for the thermostat but sometimes that doesn't do much. In many homes there are small things letting in tons of cold air.

"You can actually feel that air coming in," said Ed Krieger, pointing out a home's window.

Drafty homes are Krieger's business, as an owner of Doctor Energy Saver in Lansing.

Armed with a thermal camera, Krieger goes around homes finding areas where cold air is pouring in.

"Look at that air spilling, spilling though at the bottom of that window and making those floors cold," Krieger said during a walk through.

While many people assume their windows are the problem, Krieger says more often than not it's insulation.

"If we pop the trim off we're going to find a gap that is full of air. We need to fill that," he explained.

Next it was on to the doors where a half inch gap around the frame, might not seem like much but it lets in the same amount of cold air as having a softball sized hole in the door.

"That's a weather stripping issue where the stripping is old and needs to be replaced," Krieger added.

At first glance some spots aren't as obvious, like electrical outlets and light switches. Krieger tested one on an exterior wall and the thermal camera had the temperature at 58 degrees, when he moved it to the surrounding wall the temperature jumped to 71.8 degrees.

Krieger says that fix is simple and something many homeowners can do on their own.

"The switch palate comes off and then a piece of foam would be fitted behind that and compressed by putting the switch plate back on, and that stops the air movement," he said.

Another spot Krieger says typically isn't but should be insulated, the areas around the pipes for the kitchen sink.

As for the attic, that had the lowest reading.

"I could tell you that it is not insulated, nor is it sealed and if we go upstairs it will be absolutely freezing," Krieger said.

Krieger says that can lead to another problem, so if you see big icicles forming around your roof you should get that looked at right away because it can lead to ice dams.