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Evading the Draft: How Does the Heat Get Out?

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- After dealing with two of the coldest days in the last 20 years, warmer weather is on the way and so is some sticker shock when we get our gas and electric bill next month.

Duke Energy says it's running at full energy production.  And nationwide, natural gas usage Monday was at an all-time high.  You're paying for it, but are you getting your money's worth?

I've been lucky the last few days.  My house is warm; my furnace has done it's best to keep up.  But last night it ran pretty much non-stop.  I know I'll pay for it in February.  What I don't know is just how much money I wasted on heat that just leaked out.

There's always a lot of talk about how much heat we lose through our heads on cold days but we might lose our heads if we knew just how much heat we lose through the roof, windows and leaks in our homes.  Tuesday, with the help of the Madeira-Indian Hill fire department, we used a thermal imaging camera to illustrate how much heat is coming out of a heated home.

Traci Theis lives in a 59-year-old home in Madeira.  It's a rock solid home and is toasty inside.  But the thermal imaging camera shows a lot of heat leaking out some windows.

A lot.

"I can see that maybe we need to put some plastic or something around that window."

A typical house loses around half its heat through the roof and walls.  Windows vary greatly.  In Traci's case, the camera showed less heat lost where she'd placed towels to block drafts.  It's a common sense trick but if you want more ideas, you can get them from the people you're paying for the heat.

Duke calls it a "Home Energy House Call." 

"We'll come out and do an assessment of your home. We'll give you practical ways you can minimum improvements to your home. We're talking aerators on your faucets. Making sure you have insulation behind and outlet plug for example. Making sure you have adequate sealing around your windows and doors.

Something to think about before it gets cold again.

Do you ever think about that?  When it gets this cold do you ever think about the heat that's going out? No. You think about what heat's staying in.

You can find out more about Duke's home energy house calls and tips on how to make your home more efficient on Duke's website.  All the tips are low cost or no cost.

Nothing beats good insulation and energy efficient windows unless you're outside.  Then a good hat is what you need.



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