Now that the weather has cooled off, it’s a good time to think about sealing air leaks in your home that increase heating and cooling bills. The primary places where air enters or leaves are around your windows, exterior doors, and places where pipes, cables or wires enter your home. In fact, it’s so important that the state requires that all new homes be tested for airtightness.
Start by identifying where the leaks occur. The easiest way to do this is to draw a simple floorplan of your home, and then close all the exterior doors and windows. Walk through your home with a lighted stick of incense or a candle, noting on the floorplan where the smoke wavers more than normal. After you’ve toured the livable areas of the home, head to the attic during the day and look for leaks in the roof or around the edges of the attic, where some leaks may be present.
Seal the leaks between windows and their frames with caulk. If the leaks are outside, use silicon caulk; if they’re inside, acrylic caulk works just fine. Purchase two tubes per window if there are many leaks and hold the caulking gun at a 45 degree angle when sealing air leaks. For the sashes, use weatherstripping.
Expanding foam comes in pressurized cans, and it’s good for sealing larger holes around the places where plumbing or wiring enters your home. This kind of foam gets larger as it dries, so it’s a good idea to be conservative when you apply it. If you need more, you can always add it later. If your exterior doors need weatherstripping, remove the old material first. If any adhesive remains, use a solvent to dissolve it. Closing gaps between chimneys or flues requires fireproof sealants or metal flashing, since they get hot.
Another place where sealing air leaks makes a lot of sense is in your HVAC ductwork. Sometimes the ducts are hard to see or reach, so if you’d like assistance, please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning. We’ve provided quality HVAC services in the San Joaquin Valley for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about sealing air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock