Turns out a stinky incense stick is useful for reasons other than masking the smell of marijuana.
A a NY Times writer embarked on a popular quest this time of year, seeking ways to prevent heat escaping his house, thereby conserving energy and lowering his heating bills. The three residential energy specialists consulted in the story all offer advice that boils down to this: Find out where heat is escaping, and then caulk and seal and insulate and plug up leaks as necessary.
So what’s up with the incense? Walking around with a lit stick is a cheap and easy way to discover where your house is leaking heat:
Pick a breezy day and pass the burning stick near any seam in your house, and the smoke will reveal where the leak is.
I took a lighted incense stick around my doors and windows, and the technique worked fairly well, even if I grew completely sick of the smell after a while.
Consumers should also be sick of overpaying for heating bills, though many don’t bother to plug up leaks because they don’t know where heat is escaping, they wouldn’t know how to deal with leaks anyway … and it’ll be spring pretty soon anyway so why bother at all. But caulking, sealing, and adding insulation are all easy to handle—the basics are covered in the Times story, which includes specific brand recommendations—and the incense tip gives you no excuses for not knowing your home’s problem spots.
Now the only excuse you have for not getting started is that you don’t know where to get incense. You could ask your teenager where to get some. Or just look around in his room. You might discover spots where hot air is escaping—along with some other things that cause concern—while you’re at it.