Caulk and weather stripping are two simple ways to create a sealed envelope around your home. Without it, your heating and cooling system will work harder than it should have to, and this will drive up your monthly power bills. Proper application is the key to getting the full benefit of weatherizing.
Finding the Leaks
It’s not easy to find all the areas in your home so you can seal them. Missing small gaps in the frame of the house is a common error that can cost you. Most homeowners find the obvious places such as:
- Window frames
- Door frames
- Areas around glass panes
For proper weatherizing, look for the less obvious spots, as well. Anywhere different forms of construction material intersect is a potential leak. Look where the foundation meets the wall or brick connects to wood siding. Inspect around mail chutes, cable lines and electrical entrances. Walk around the house during the cold months and make a list of drafty places where air is coming in from outside. You can use an incense stick or candle; watch where the smoke wavers, indicating air movement.
There are some basics to consider for caulk and weather stripping that will improve performance and save money.
- Choose products based on where you intend to apply them. For example, caulk to go around an outdoor faucet should be both waterproof and able to handle temperature fluctuations. Weather stripping for the bottom of a door should be durable and friction resistant.
- Use caulk on gaps that are less than 1/4 inch wide. For leaks larger than that, use weather stripping. The strips are available in various widths and shapes.
- Clean the surface prior to applying the sealant for proper adhesion.
- Read the application directions fully before beginning. This will ensure you have the right product and proper prep to get the best results.
Sealing a home is one of the most effective ways to save money on your energy bills, but only if it’s done correctly. Contact us for more energy-saving tips or to get an energy evaluation of your home. Ernst Heating & Cooling has been servicing the Metro-East area since 1951.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about caulk, weather stripping and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.