Fix Air Leaks Around Doors and Windows – Are You Cooling Your Neighbors Space?
The Case of the Door that Would Not Close
Recently, in a meeting with my web designer, she complained about the gap in her front door and the fact that it was allowing so much cold air out of her home. After a brief inspection of the door, I concluded that my friend was doing more than her fair share to cool Mother Earth.
What was the problem you may ask? Warped door jambs? Missing Insulation? Threshold loose? NOPE, none of the above. My friend’s problem was the result of two screws that had come loose. Not to the point where they were sticking out and noticeable but just enough to let the strike plate slide forward preventing the door from closing tightly against the weather-stripping. The result of these two loose screws could easily add up to hundreds of dollars on her electric bill over the course of a year.
As a General Contractor, I am asked into homes to look at renovation projects and often see things like the loose screws mentioned above. I mention the various things that I see to the home owners and the responses I get typically fall into one of two categories; 1) oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to fix that, or 2) Oh man, I have never seen that before, I’ll have to look into it. Each response, while different, are essentially saying the same thing; “thanks for pointing that out, I’m not going to do anything about it right now”. Knowing the normal reaction, I asked my friend why she chose to fix the “minor” “maintenance” issue. “I do not wish to pay for cooling my neighbor”. Now here is someone that truly understands the indirect costs of home ownership.
In Florida, your utility bill, or how much you pay to cool your home, is one of biggest drains on your bank account. I was a bit shocked to learn that you might be paying as little as $0.35 cents per hour and as much as $0.75 cents per hour to cool your home (all depending on how old your AC unit is and how much you are currently paying for electricity). I found a great article to explain to me how to calculate how much I was paying to cool my home per hour; check it out yourself.
My friend had the right idea; see a problem? Fix it before it becomes a major problem! Picture yourself getting up from your couch every hour, walking to the front door and reaching into your pockets and pulling out $0.60 and just throwing it out the door. After a short 24-hour period you will have thrown out $14.40. Would you reach down and pick this up or would you want to wait a few more days?