Posted on November 20, 2012 at 11:31 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tara Fitzgerald moved into her Charlotte home six years ago, and ever since has had to put a blanket at the bottom of the back door.
“It’s always drafty. I put it along there, and maybe another one,” she said as she pointed to the bottom or the door.
Fed up with the cold and rising heating bills, Sean Mossman, a weatherization expert, takes an in-depth look at the home, armed with a special tool.
“This is an infrared camera, like the military uses.” says Mossman, as he held up the tool.
When pointed at a surface, the yellow device measures temperature, and displays it on a screen. Red areas, like around Tara’s door, indicate that heat is escaping.
According to Mossman, the average homeowner spends $1,000 a year on heating and cooling. By doing some simple weatherization on doors and windows, homeowners can save $200 or more.
He first points the infrared camera at the wall, which reads 64 degrees. At the bottom of the door, the camera glows red and reads 46 degrees.
Mossman then lights and candle, and places it beside the drafty door. Almost immediately the flame goes out, illustrating the cold air coming into the home.
Within 10 minutes, Mossman has removed all screws and stripped the existing weatherstripping off the door. In another five minutes, he’s done cutting and measuring a new adhesive-style weatherizing strip, and attached it to the door, to create a tight seal.
“These things take five minutes, cost $10 at any hardware store.” smiles Mossman.
Again, we try the candle near the bottom of the door. This time, not only does it stay lit, the infrared camera registers a 10 degree warm up in the hallway.
Other leaky spots in most homes include windows and the attic. The attic is one of the biggest leakers of hot air.
Mossman climbs up a pulldown ladder from the second floor to the crawlspace above, and takes a peek around.
“Climb up, and see if your insulation is matted down…there’s air sealing and insulation. One’s a bigger job, but the other [air sealing] takes minutes.”
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