Insights > Revealed: 7 Hidden Sources of Home Energy Loss

Revealed: 7 Hidden Sources of Home Energy Loss


The average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy costs, and much of that is wasted. Many sources of energy loss go undetected because they’re tucked away in the darkest recesses of your home. To save money and increase home comfort, here's what you should be looking for.

  1. Holes in the attic
    The attic is a prime spot for air (and your energy dollars) to escape. Check for gaps and holes. Pull back attic insulation to find cutouts from ceiling fans and recessed light fixtures and seal them with caulk or expandable foam. Check for and seal gaps around plumbing vents, furnace flues and ductwork. Also, seal the attic door or access with weatherstripping.

  2. Gaps underground
    Airflow through holes in your basement can undermine your energy budget and reduce comfort. Air can escape through gaps and cracks in the rim joists and where the wall meets the ceiling, as well as through plumbing and wiring holes on outside walls. Caulk is best for sealing small holes or cracks. Use spray foam insulation to fill larger gaps.

  3. Insufficient insulation
    Without proper insulation, you're spending more to be less comfortable. Check your attic. If there's no insulation, contact a qualified contractor right away. If you have insulation, make sure the R-level matches that recommended for your climate zone. For your walls, a qualified contractor can perform an inspection and advise you about adding insulation.

  4. Phantom loads
    Many electronic devices in your home, such as battery chargers and game consoles, continue to draw power even when they're turned off. Unplug devices when they're not in use or plug them into advanced power strips, which automatically power off unused devices.

  5. Clogged filter
    Forget to change the air filter on your furnace? The added heating and cooling costs will leave a lasting impression. To ensure efficient airflow and comfort, change your air filter monthly during the heating and cooling season, or according to manufacturer's guidelines.

  6. Bare pipes
    If the hot water piping coming out of your hot water tank isn't insulated, you're wasting energy and money. Fitted pipe insulation is available at your local DIY retailer, and it's an easy and affordable project.

  7. Investigate further
    The energy waste has been unmasked. Now hire a qualified professional to perform an energy assessment of your home. You’ll get a clear set of recommendations for improving comfort and efficiency.

To save even more, check out our energy efficiency programs.

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Corporate Editorial Team