Air sealing is one of the easiest way that you can save hundreds of dollars a year with just a minimum of investment. Many times you only need caulk, foam and drywall or R-Max board. Heat seeks cold and wherever you have a crack or hole, heat will be drawn out like a vacuum in the winter and drawn in the summer. These are called, "air infiltration areas". These areas are usually in the conditioned areas. "Bypasses" are areas in unconditioned or unintentionally conditioned areas that create a air draw or vacuum up the chases or wall cavities of the home. This vacuum helps to draw energy out of your house. One you can find now is in your basement. In most homes if you go to where the chimney cavity goes up the wall and look up, you will see gaps or a hole where the concrete and the wooden floor meets. This chase goes all the way up to the attic. Not only is this a fire hazard for flames in the basement can be drawn up the house, to set the attic ablaze, but this chase is "sucking" energy out of your house, up to the attic. IT MUST BE SEALED!!! Your house is full of these leaks and a Blower Door or infrared scan can HELP you find them.. Air sealing and duct sealing go hand in hand for as much as 70% of your duct work could be a hole to the great outdoors. Pressure Pan Testing and other methods will find these in a Green Energy Audit. Ask you auditor if they can provide these services.
Save on heating and cooling costs by checking for air leaks in common trouble spots in your home
Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, often one year or less. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.
Air leakage occurs when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. It is unwise to rely on air leakage for ventilation. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it's warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, which can result in poor indoor air quality. Air leakage also contributes to moisture problems that can affect occupants' health and the structure's durability. An added benefit is that sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort.
The recommended strategy is to reduce air leakage as much as possible and to provide controlled ventilation as needed. Before air sealing, you should first:
- Detect air leaks
- Assess your ventilation needs for indoor air quality.
You can then apply air sealing techniques and materials, including caulk and weatherstripping. If you're planning an extensive remodel of your home that will include some construction, review some of the techniques used for air sealing in new home construction and consider a home energy audit to identify all the ways your home wastes energy and money.
Note that air sealing alone doesn't eliminate the need for proper insulation to reduce heat flow through the building envelope.