How does $140 sound?
Ace M.J.K. Sales and Feed Inc. assistant manager Mike Carson and other insulation retailers can help keep that money in your pocket year-round.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average household spends $1,400 a year on heating and cooling. Hidden gaps and cracks in a home can add up to as much airflow as an open window.
"If people are really concerned with heat leaking from their house, make sure their doors and windows have the right weather stripping," Carson said. "Weather stripping gets overlooked because it will generally be there before that owner gets there."
Carson said all you need to test for leaky windows and doors is a candle.
Light the candle, blow it out near the suspecting door and watch the smoke. If the smoke billows straight up, you're OK, Carson said. If it blows around, you know where to pull out the caulking gun.
"It can be a never-ending battle, especially in older homes," Carson said.
But once you take the correct precautions to weather-proofing your home, the benefits should last.
"Expect to get five to 10 years of wear from a new stripping and caulking job," he said.
Carson also said plastic is a handy way to add an extra layer of insulation in a crawl space.
"You can cover anything with plastic," he said.
In addition to these tips, the EPA Web site recommends keeping a clean air filter and cleaning it monthly. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure.
The EPA also recommends consulting a professional before pursuing any complete heating or cooling overhauls.
John Henry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209,