Your ducts (the network of tubes in your walls, floors, and ceilings) carry the air from your furnace to every room in your house. Most duct systems are poorly insulated, resulting in a heat loss of up to 60% and hundreds of wasted dollars every year for most households. Leaks in ducts end up heating areas of the house such as the attic and crawl spaces - areas nobody occupies! Check your ducts for air leaks: Look for separations in sections that should be joined, and sections that have obvious holes. If you are going to use tape to seal your ducts, be sure to avoid using cloth-based, rubber adhesive duct tape, since this tends to fail quickly. Instead, try using mastic, butyl tape, foil tape, or tape that carries the Underwriters Laboratories logo. Minor duct repairs are easy to make, but ducts in unventilated areas of the house should be sealed and insulated by a trained professional with the appropriate materials. You should also insulate the first five feet of pipe coming out of the top of your water heater, to reduce heat loss. Pipe insulation is available at any hardware store. Don't forget to install a carbon monoxide (CO)
detector that will alert you to harmful levels of CO, especially if you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove, or other appliance, or if you have an attached garage.