The reason for sealing air leaks in your home is to keep conditioned air inside and hot or cold air outside. No matter the season, the goal is the same. If you want to enjoy a tighter home and lower energy bills as quickly and affordably as possible, follow this three-step strategy.
Start with the largest air leaks
To make a big difference as fast as possible, start by sealing air leaks that let the most air pass between the interior and exterior. These places may include:
- Ceilings directly below the attic
- Floors over the unfinished crawlspace or basement
- Unsealed mechanical chases
- Bathtub drain holes
- Refrigerator vents
- Attic kneewalls without sheathing
Seek out medium-sized air leaks
Most of the leaks in this category have to do with the ductwork: air either leaks around the ductwork as it passes between floors or conditioned air leaks out of the ducts themselves and escapes into unconditioned spaces. When possible, access exposed ductwork and examine any leaks you find. If you come across insulation that has turned dark, that means dirty air has been passing through it for a long time.
When sealing air leaks around ductwork, never use flammable materials. Instead, fill the largest gaps with metal or other noncombustible materials and use fire-rated caulk and/or duct mastic to seal the remainder of the leaks.
Move on to small air leaks
If you live in an older home, you may find lots of unsealed holes around wiring and other penetrations in the framing. Caulk or spray foam is all you need to fill these holes and seal the leaks.
Newer homes still have plenty of small air leaks as well. These are the easiest to access and seal using caulk and weatherstripping. Look in the following places for small air leaks to round out your air-sealing efforts:
- Windows and doors
- Electrical outlets
- Attic hatches
- Recessed light fixtures
- Fireplace dampers
If you need help sealing air leaks in your home, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling today. Our experience serving Metro-East communities including Hamel, Edwardsville and Troy dates back to 1951.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about sealing air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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