Check it out: find home air leaks with kit from library

Xcel Energy announced recently the launch of a new pilot program called Draft Check, which enables Ramsey County library patrons to check out a device to help locate air leaks in their homes.

People can use the Draft Check kit to find air leaks and measure temperature variations in their homes in and around windows, doors, attics, basements, electrical outlets, light switches, walls, moldings and baseboards.

Users aim the device at the area they want to check and make a few setting choices. The kit comes with an instructional video and a worksheet to help identify common leak locations and track results.

“Air leaks can be hard to find and can make your home uncomfortable and inefficient,” said Chris Dierker, Xcel Energy market manager. “Checking out a Draft Check kit is a great first step to improve your home’s energy efficiency and discover ways to save money.”

ENERGY STAR® reports that air leakage and improperly installed insulation can waste 20 percent or more of the energy used to heat or cool a home. In typical homes, common air leaks together can add up to as much air loss as having a window open.

Once the homeowner locates the leaks, there are two recommended courses of action. A Home Energy Audit, which involves an energy expert making a detailed assessment of the home’s energy use and offering recommendations to fit the homeowner’s needs, or a do-it-yourself approach.

Homeowners can consider installing  weather stripping, caulking, door sweeps, insulation, outlet covers and adding foam receptacle sealers around electrical outlets and light switches to keep drafts at bay. 

The Draft Check program complements the Power Check meters already offered at libraries across the Twin Cities. Consumers can plug Power Check meters into home appliances and electronics to learn how much energy they’re using.

Participating libraries include Shoreview, Maplewood, Mounds View, New Brighton, North St. Paul, Roseville and White Bear Lake. For more information, go to www.xcelenergy.com.

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