Properly sealing and insulating your home can save you money on your home’s heating and cooling bills, and it also conserves energy. Use these tips to find out where your home needs to be sealed.
- A good place to start is in your basement as it is one of the most common sources of air leaks in the home.
- On a bright day, check for any cracks that allow daylight to enter your basement, especially around foundation lines. If a crack allows light to come through, it allows air to come in as well.
- Thoroughly check around all windows and doors as these can often have a poor seal. To check for leaks, slowly move a lit incense stick around the edges of all windows and doors; if the smoke drifts to the side, it indicates an air leak that needs to be sealed.
- Check for any cracks where the floor and wall meet and where the ceiling and wall meet.
- Look around all pipes and vents where they go through any wall or up to another room in the house through the ceiling. If there is a gap between the pipe or vent and the surface they go through, the opening needs to be sealed.
Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, and Living Areas:
- Thoroughly check around all windows and doors as these can often have a poor seal. To check for leaks, slowly move a lit incense stick around the edges of all windows and doors in your home; if the smoke drifts to the side, it indicates an air leak that needs to be sealed.
- In addition to checking around the perimeter of the windows and doors, ensure they are closing tightly. To do this, place a piece of paper on your window sill or under the door, and then close the window or door on the piece of paper. Once closed, try to pull the piece of paper out. If it easily slides out without folding or tearing, there is a big enough air leak that you should install a new threshold.
- For rooms with sinks: Under the sink, check to see if there is a gap around the pipe where it goes through the wall. If there is a space, it needs to be sealed up.
- Check for air leaks along baseboards where the board meets the wall and the floor. Use the incense or piece of paper methods detailed above.
- Air leaks can also occur where a hole has been cut in the wall or ceiling to install a switch, outlet, or a light. After removing covers, look for any locations where there is a large gap between the surface and the electrical box, This gap should be filled. When your project involves electrical aspects, be sure to turn off the power during application and dry time of your product.
Outside your home:
- Check around all windows and doors for gaps and cracks where two surfaces meet. These joints are easily sealed with caulks and foam sealants. Ensure your sealant is flexible and that it can be used for exterior applications.
- Look for gaps around pipes and vents and seal any holes or gaps with a caulk or foam sealant, again making sure that your product selection can be used for exterior applications.
- If your home has wooden or vinyl slat siding, check for gaps along the corner board (the vertical board that covers where the ends of the siding meet on the corner of your home).
- In addition to the locations outlined above, while inspecting your home, look for areas where two unlike materials join together. This indicates that there is a break in surfaces where air can easily travel through if not properly sealed.
- Air leaks are more easily felt in the winter, with a "draft" of cold air leaking into the house.
- If you have a fireplace or woodstove, make sure the damper is tightly closed when not in use as this can be a source of major air transfer.
- Once all your sealing and insulating is complete, invest in a programmable thermostat.