Air Sealing Your Home

When you turn on your air conditioner or heat unit, you often make sure all windows or doors are also closed so your en­ergy dollars don’t go flying out the door. This same principle is also true when it comes to cracks and holes throughout the house. These air leaks cause your cooling/heating unit to run longer and harder and in some cases, there may be enough cracks around the house that if you added them all together, it would be about the size of an open window.

Air sealing your home, both inside and out, is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy ef­ficiency and comfort. Ac­cording to a report by the Oak Ridge National Labo­ratory and Pacific North­west National Laboratory, homeowners can save 10-20 percent on their heating and cooling costs just by closing up those air leaks. Buy a tube of caulk and a can of sprayfoam and seal anywhere you see a crack or hole. When you seal your home, it stops air from moving freely between the out­side and inside of your house. So how do you determine where to seal around your home?

A good strategy is to simply walk around the outside of your home and caulk or foam any openings you see, especially around pipes or wire penetrations. Additional air leaks and drafts are easier to find because you can feel for them – such as those around windows and doors.

Inside your home, the main area for air leaks is where your wall meets the floor or ceiling. Typically there is molding in place and you can caulk around the molding. Other com­mon places include air penetration points in the ceiling, such as near ceiling fans and lights and the attic access. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping can have an impact on improving your comfort and aide in reducing your utility bills.

Leaks also allow moisture to come into your home. Your cooling unit regulates both tem­perature and humidity, but when moisture is added to your home, it can become very humid and uncomfortable, especially during the hot Alabama summers, causing your unit to run even more.

A tube of caulk and a can of spray foam are fairly inexpensive, and sealing your house is an easy way to lower your energy bills while gaining comfort.