The average home has a multitude of leaks in the exterior envelope where conditioned air can escape. Weatherization, or sealing up sources of air leaks, is the most effective way to put a stop to wasteful conditioned air losses.
Operating heating and cooling equipment accounts for roughly 48 percent of the yearly energy consumption in the typical American home. Curbing air leakage to make your home more energy efficient can significantly reduce consumption and keep heating and cooling costs in check. Weatherizing your home can also boost the comfort level enjoyed by everyone in the household both winter and summer.
Here are some weatherization projects for specific areas of your home that can help keep conditioned air indoors where it belongs:
Interior Living Areas
- Check for gaps where floors meet exterior walls in every room and seal those you find with caulk.
- If you have a fireplace that’s not used regularly, close the damper and install a chimney balloon or rigid insulation to block air loss via the flue. If it’s used periodically, install a set of tight-fitting glass doors on the fireplace.
- Remove the covers on electrical switches and plugs situated on exterior walls and add an insulating foam gasket behind each one.
- Add weatherstripping around all exterior doors. Be sure to open each door so you can install the material around the door jamb too.
- Install new rubber or vinyl sweeps on exterior doors to stop air leaks.
- If daylight is visible under an exterior door, check whether there are adjustment screws that can be turned to raise the threshold. If it’s not adjustable, replace the threshold.
- Check for missing or broken locks and replace them so the window sashes fit together tightly when locked.
- If you have double-hung windows, open each one and install weatherstripping on the bottom of the upper sash and along the tracks.
- Replace any broken window panes, and fix loose ones by adding new putty.
- Install flexible rope caulk or weatherstripping on the moving parts of all operable windows.
- Invest in exterior storm windows to block drafts around single-pane windows. As an alternative, install inexpensive plastic film on the inside of each window to reduce air movement. Switching to insulated window treatments can also help block drafts.
- In pre-1950s homes, the tops of exterior wall cavities were often left open to the attic space. If this is the case in your home, cover these gaps with rigid insulation and seal it with caulk to block any airflow.
- Seal holes and gaps on the attic floor with rigid insulation, caulk and/or expandable foam insulation to stop conditioned air from rising from the finished living areas below.
- Seal and insulate HVAC ductwork that runs through the attic. Use metal-backed tape to seal joints and seams, then install R-6 insulation on the ducting.
- Seal gaps around plumbing vent pipes with caulk.
- If a chimney goes up through the attic, close off any gaps around the brick with metal flashing and high temperature sealant.
- Insulate and seal the attic access hatch. First, cut and fit batt insulation and fasten it on the attic side of the hatch. Then, install flexible self-adhesive weatherstripping all the way around the hatch cover. Make sure the hatch cover closes snugly. If not, add one or two latch bolts to keep it sealed tight.
Crawl Space or Basement
- Stop air infiltration between unfinished lower level and the living space above by sealing gaps and holes with expandable foam and/or caulk. You’re likely to find trouble spots around the chimney, plumbing pipes, water lines or electrical wires.
- Properly seal and insulate accessible HVAC ductwork.
- Stop air leaks around basement windows by installing removable rope caulk.
Around the Exterior
- Use caulk and/or expandable foam to fill in any gaps and holes where different building materials come together, such as the foundation and rim joist or the siding and chimney.
- Check for and seal air escape routes around all penetrations through the exterior walls, such as electrical, plumbing, water and utility lines.
- Seal air leaks around appliance, exhaust fan and HVAC vents with caulk, and replace any damaged vent covers.
- Use caulk to seal gaps that allow air leakage around window frames and exterior doors.
Learn about other weatherization solutions from the pros at Pioneer Comfort Systems or contact us today at 318-965-7200 to schedule a service appointment.
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