Sealing air leaks in your home is one of the most effective ways to improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, but only if you do it right. Poor sealing techniques won’t seal your home and will cost you money. Take the time to use the proper materials and technique to seal your home. Your HVAC system will thank you with lower monthly bills.
Use caulk to seal off gaps that are less than ¼ inch wide. Purchase the right caulk for the job. For example, silicone works well on nonporous surfaces. Acrylic latex is a little more expensive, but cleans up well and works on most surfaces. Choose a fire-resistant caulking to use around chimneys, furnaces and water heaters. In most cases, insert the caulk tube into a gun. Cut the applicator tip at a 45-degree angle. Hold the gun at an angle when applying the sealant.
Foam sealant works well for medium-sized leaks such as those you might find under insulation or around pipes. Decide where you will be applying foam before you start. If you do not empty the can, squirt a liquid lubricant onto a pipe cleaner and stuff it into the straw applicator between uses. The application is straightforward; you just aim and shoot, and the foam will expand to fill the gap and seal your home. Read the instructions carefully for proper usage.
Weatherstripping works well around frames such as windows and doors. Select a stripping product that withstands friction and temperature changes. For doors and windows, either metal or vinyl is sufficient. Application depends on the style of stripping. Read the instructions on the package before beginning. Here are some basics:
- Measure the area you are sealing several times before cutting your strip.
- Clean and dry the area before application.
- The stripping should compress when you open or shut a door or window. If it does not, the strip is not thick enough.
One other critical thing to keep in mind when sealing your home – by tightening the air envelope in the home, you could potentially introduce other problems into the home’s operation. For instance, if you have a furnace or water heater inside the living space, and you tighten up a house too tight, you’ve eliminated necessary ventillation to ensure complete combustion of those devices, which can lead to flue spillage, carbon monoxide exposure, and other potentially deadly side-effects.
Weather sealing is a fantastic energy saver, but its important to understand all the downstream effects of doing so, to ensure you didn’t introduce any dangerous conditions upon completion.
For expert advice when you want to seal your home, to schedule service or for a home energy evaluation, contact Donald P Dick Air Conditioning. We proudly service the greater Fresno area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about sealing your home and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.