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November 17, 2016 2:51 pm
You may be throwing money right out the window. Or out the front door. Even down the drain.
Why? Because these are some of the common places where your home might be leaking air, overtaxing your air conditioning and heating units and increasing your costs considerably. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), finding and sealing air leaks will save you a bundle.
Once identified, leaks can be stopped in their tracks with simple caulking or weatherstripping, a move that provides a return on investment usually in less than one year, says the DOE. Caulk is used for cracks and openings around stationary items, like doors and window frames, and weatherstripping is best for sealing moveable components like doors and windows. In addition to drafts and cold spots, air leakage also contributes to moisture problems in the home.
Energy.gov offers the following tips for making your home air-tight and cost effective:
- Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
- Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, duct work or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings and soffits over cabinets.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
- Inspect dirty spots in your insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose, and install house flashing if needed.
- Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
- Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane low-emissivity windows.
- Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
- Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
- Check your dryer vent to be sure it isn’t blocked. This will save energy, and may prevent a fire.
- Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
- Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
- Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.
The DOE emphasizes that air sealing doesn’t eliminate the need for proper insulation, which reduces heat from escaping the building envelope.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy
To learn more about making your home air-tight and cost effective, contact our office today.
Published with permission from RISMedia.
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