Should You Air Seal Your Home?
If your home loses air due to a lack of proper sealing, you’ll lose money every month as a result. Find out if sealing your home is a move you should make to save on your monthly energy bill.
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What’s one of the biggest culprits when it comes to ever-increasing electricity costs? Air that escapes due to leaks in your home. While this is an issue that tends to affect older homes, you may want to look at your current living situation to see if sealing leaks is a project worthy of your time.
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What Is Air Leakage?
When outside air enters your home and conditioned air leaves it, you have air leakage. What causes this costly occurrence? Cracks and openings in your home, and even the most minuscule ones can lead to major increases in your cooling and heating costs.
Some people see air leakage as a benefit. They use it for ventilation at times, but since it’s not always needed, leakage does more harm than good.
Take the summer, for example. A scorching hot June in south Florida can result in a little wind and loads of warm, muggy air. If that enters your home, it will create an uncomfortable atmosphere.
What will you do to combat it? Turn down your AC more than you usually would, which increases energy usage.
Besides creating discomfort, air leakage can allow harmful moisture in. This can not only affect your family’s health, but it can also affect the structure of your home and its durability over the years.
How to Air Seal Your Home
A cost-effective way to air seal any home is via caulking and weatherstripping. Both can offer an excellent return on investment within a year by lowering monthly electricity costs.
Caulk is often used for openings linked to non-moving parts of a house, such as around window or door frames. Weatherstripping, meanwhile, is usually reserved for sealing moving parts, such as operable windows or doors themselves.
Here are some tips to ensure your home is sealed correctly and “weatherized” so it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter:
- Examine all of your doors and windows. Caulk and weatherstrip any that are leaking air.
- Look for areas where electrical wiring, ducting, or plumbing comes through walls, ceilings, floors, etc. Seal any leaks in these areas where loads of conditioned air can escape.
- Switchplates and outlets on your walls should have foam gaskets installed behind them to prevent leakage.
- Significant gaps around baseboards, windows, and other areas should be closed with foam sealant.
- Use a fire-resistant material like furnace cement caulk to seal leaks near gas-fired water heater vents, furnaces, and fireplace chimneys.
- If your kitchen exhaust fan is not in use, cover it to prevent air leaks.
- Are there spots on your carpet or ceiling paint? There may be air leaks on nearby wall/floor joints or interior wall/ceiling joints that need caulking.
- Mold or dirty spots on your insulation could signify an air leak. Low-expansion spray foam can provide a much-needed seal here before the issue gets out of hand.
- Have your home tested for airtightness so you can pinpoint where any problems are.