If the title of this article has left you scratching your head, it’s really true. Today I am going to show you how I was able to use a simple incense stick to find ways to save money on my energy bill.
Unless you own a new home that has been carefully constructed to prevent cold air from leaking around windows and doors, you’re house probably leaks like and old rusty bucket. The most common places that homes will have leaks are around doors and windows but there are other places as well.
You might not think that these little drafts would amount to much but they can really add up if you have several leaks in your home. Not too long ago I decided to try and track down some of the leaks in my home so that I could seal them up and make my home more energy efficient. At first I just tried feeling around my windows and doors with my hand but this wasn’t very effective.
While I was trying to find any leaks in my home, it dawned on me that if I could see the air that was leaking into my house, I would know exactly where I needed to add weatherstrips or insulation. The thought of using a lit incense stick instantly popped into my head.
Now before you go and do this, you need to realize that I’m not suggesting that you do this in your home. I don’t want anyone to go and do this and then end up starting their house on fire and then send me an email saying that Patty from BooneyLiving.com told them to do this. They make machines that put out smoke that are made especially for the chore of finding leaks in drafty doors and windows. I highly advise that you use one of these approved tools so that you don’t start a fire in your house. Don’t do what I did!
All I did was take a plastic cup and poke a hole in the bottom of it. Then I placed the end if the incense stick in the hole so that the stick would be held securely in place. Then I lit the incense and as the stick burnt, the ashes were safely captured in the cup. Now that I had a good source of smoke, I walked around my house and slowly moved the smoke past areas where I suspected there might be some drafts of cold air coming inside.
I was really happy with the results because it showed me right away where I needed to do more weatherizing! I’ve included a video below that shows a professional using a smoke device that is especially made for identifying drafty areas. It demonstrates exactly how effective this technique can be.
I found several areas in my house that were leaking heat. One area that really surprised me was behind light switch plates and electrical outlet plates. Before I did this test, I had no idea that cold air could leak through areas like these. I was even able to pick up some nifty foam cutouts that fit perfectly under the light switch covers and did a great job of sealing up theses drafts.
If you can’t get access to a smoke machine, you might try looking in the phone book. I imagine that it wouldn’t be very difficult to find someone who would come out to your house and do a complete energy audit to help you find changes that you can make to your home that will make it more energy efficient.