If you are looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home, air sealing is an affordable investment that will reduce energy costs, while improving the comfort and durability of your home.
To begin, locate the areas where air leakage is occurring; often it is where two different materials meet, such as brick and wood siding, the foundation and walls, and the chimney and siding. Areas of concern include the following:
Once you have located the air leaks, apply air sealing materials as needed. Two common materials include caulk and weather stripping. Most experts agree that caulking and weather stripping will pay for themselves in energy savings within one year.
Caulk forms a flexible seal for cracks, gaps, or joints in almost any material. You can use caulking compound to seal air leaks throughout your home. Most caulking compounds come in disposable cartridges that fit in half-barrel caulking guns. Allow at least one half of a cartridge per window or door and four cartridges for the foundation sill. Before applying caulk, remove any old caulking material and clean the area. Apply caulk at a consistent angle and in a constant stream, avoiding stops and starts. The type of caulk you choose will depend on where it is being used:
Weather Stripping stops air leaks around doors and windows. It also diverts rain and water away from your home, which helps to prevent water damage and mold growth. Made from an assortment of materials, including foam, felt, vinyl, aluminum, and bronze, it is available in a variety of depths and widths, suitable for most applications. Choose weather stripping that will withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with the area where it is being applied. To determine how much weather stripping you will need, measure the perimeter of all the windows and doors that need weather stripping, and add 5 to 10 percent to allow for waste. Always apply to clean, dry surfaces at temperatures above 20°F.