Insulation & Sealing


Warming up by the fireplace can be a cozy, idyllic way to spend the holiday season. But your fireplace chimney can also be a source for air drafts, making your home less comfortable and causing you to use more heat when the fire is not aglow. Stop the cool air from coming in with a fireplace draft stopper: an airtight, tear-resistant and long-lasting inflatable bag that you can put inside of your chimney to stop the drafts when the fireplace is not in use. It’s also reusable, so you can take it out, deflate it and store it for future use. ($50-$65)


Despite your best efforts to insulate and reduce air leaks in your home, certain doors can continue to be culprits for letting cool air leak in — or letting heating escape a room before you can get comfortable. One of the simplest fixes, place a draft stopper beneath doors in your home to prevent air from leaking. For the crafters and DIY’ers out there, this is a fun item you can even make yourself, using decorative fabric and cylindrical materials lying around your home, like a pool noodle or old socks! ($10-$20)


The average household spends nearly half of its electric bill on heating and cooling, but you could be wasting money from gaps, cracks and other air leaks in your home. A simple way to start reducing some of this air loss is to install foam gaskets behind your light switch and AC outlet faceplates. The gaskets only cost a few bucks, and you can seal up all your outlets with nothing more than a screwdriver. ($2-$5)


It’s always important to detect and address drafts around your home. One easily forgotten area to check is where your exhaust fan is located. When not covered, exhaust fans allow cool or warm air to escape your home. Inexpensive fan covers eliminate air loss and reduce cooling costs. In winter, fan covers also help prevent outside cool air from entering the home, helping to reduce heating needs. (Approx. $5)


Speaking of gaps in your home, mail slots in doors are notoriously drafty and lead to heating and cooling loss. If you don’t want to replace your entire mail slot, find models that now attach to the inside of the door and are invisible from the outside. They cut down on drafts while still allowing mail to be pushed through. ($15-$30)


Heating and cooling account for the biggest portion of your home energy bill – about 50% of the total. But did you know that heat or cool air you’re paying for may be escaping through hidden air leaks? Discover those sneaky leaks and drafts around your home with a thermal leak detector. Shine the detector’s light on walls and the infrared thermometer will reveal hot and cold spots, showing how much air you’re losing with temperature changes between 1° F and 10° F. Once you have located leaks, you can seal up your home with caulk, weatherstripping or insulation to keep the air you’re paying for inside where it belongs, which can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. ($20-$30)


If you depend on a window-mounted air conditioner to keep you cool, there are still easy ways to reduce air leakage and save energy. Spend a few minutes and few dollars to weatherseal the openings of the unit. This simple project will block the gaps, reduce the amount of air escaping outside and help keep your room cool while keeping your energy bill in check. Using a fan and reducing the time you turn on the A/C unit overall will also help lower your bill. ($2-$7)


If that window air conditioner stays in place all year round, it’s important to protect the unit in the winter when the cold outdoor air can sift through the A/C into your home, causing drafts and discomfort and raising your electric bill. A simple quilting cover fits over you’re A/C unit to help reduce drafts and protect your unit so it can function better when you need in warmer months. (Approx. $20)

Lesson Plans
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Get your students energized about responsible energy use! In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve created fun, multi-day, Lesson plans to help you teach your students how to understand and conserve energy! They’re classroom-ready and free to use!