Saving on Heat: Fixing Air Leaks
Air leakage from around old doors and windows or newly installed appliances make it easy for heated or cooled air to escape, leading to an increase in monthly bills. Luckily, there are ways to identify easy to repair leaks in order to keep your home temperature comfortable more efficiently.
Identifying Air Leaks
Air leaks can occur at home for a number of reasons. Most of the time air leaks are caused naturally from any place where two building materials meet, or from general wear and tear over the years. Common places to find air leaks are windows, doors, or other apparatuses that exist inside and outside of your home.
According to Energy.gov, other places to find air leaks are: electrical outlets, switch plates, baseboards, attic hatches, gaps around pipes or wires, wall or window mounted air conditioners, vents, fans, and where dryer vents pass through walls.
The two most common ways to seal air leaks are by caulking or weatherstripping.
Caulk is flexible material that is used to seal thin cracks in your home. It’s best to be used on stationary materials as it dries permanently to where it is applied.
When buying caulk, it is recommended to use a caulking gun with an automatic release. The amount of caulk you’ll need will vary based on your needs but a general frame of reference is a half cartridge per window.
If you are doing a job at home, the more cost efficient caulking types are expandable spray foam (polyurethane), water-based foam, butyl rubber, latex, or oil based.
If you are on a tight budget, oil based caulk is cheapest on the market.
Weatherstripping is the best course of action for sealing movable objects like doors or sliding window panes.
Energy.gov suggests when choosing materials for weatherstripping, it’s best to take into account your needs. If you are looking to seal a door or window that is not frequently used or exposed to the elements, you can choose felt and open-cell foams. If you are sealing a door or window that is regularly used in your home, it’s best to use more durable material like a tension seal, vinyl, or tape.