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Why Is Your House Cold?

How many of you have experienced this situation? As the wind blows outside and the temperature drops, you get chilled even while you are standing in the middle of your home.

How does this happen?

The three biggest problems with the comfort of your home are,

1) air infiltration

2) air infiltration

3) air infiltration

The total air infiltration in an average house is the equivalent of having a door or window open every day of your life. Now, you've probably heard it said that a house needs to breathe. In all my years in this work, I've never had anyone really explain why a house needs to breathe or even what that statement really means. Another word for house breathing is, simply put, leaks.

Just think with me for a moment. If you can keep the cold air from getting in, it won't take as much to heat your house. Not to mention the fact that you would be a lot more comfortable in your home. So where does the air come in?

Think of it this way. Anywhere an ant can get in, air can get in. Here are a few major problem areas:

Where your wall touches your slab.

Cracks between the wood framing in your home's walls.

Around electrical receptacles and light switches in your house, even on interior walls. (When the north wind is blowing, go feel the electrical outlets and switches on your north wall.)

Holes and leaks around your sink plumbing. Forget the ants, sometimes a mouse can get through these holes.

Gas and fireplace flues.

Recessed can lights that are not IC-rated. Between 3 and 10 cubic feet per minute of air will pass through one of these lights. A typical plastic garbage bag is 3 cubic feet. So that means that three garbage bags full of air can leak out of one of those lights every minute.

The return air system of your heating/cooling unit. In the average house, gigantic amounts of air enter through this system.

So how are you going to stop the cold air from penetrating your home this winter? The solution is mostly labor and a little bit material. Now, say this with me.

Caulk it

Caulk it

Caulk it

For big holes, such as those under the sink, simply use expandable foam. For the smaller cracks, use a clear siliconized caulk.

For electrical outlets and light switches, install the insulated foam gaskets and childproof plug inserts.

Installing cellulose insulation in your attic will also help reduce air infiltration from your attic space.

For lower utiltiy bills visit

Doug Rye is a nationally recognized energy consultant and licensed architect. Doug also host the "Home Remedies" radio talk show that is broadcast in 15 states. Phillip Rye is a licensed engineer and has spent the past 15 years studying energy efficiency and energy conservation. Discover how you can have lower utility bills guarunteed! Visit

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