Are Your Energy Dollars Leaking Out of Your House?
By finding fixing these common air leaks, you can help keep your energy dollars in house.
Your energy dollars are definitely something you'd like to keep in-house. Unfortunately, air leaking out of your home wastes energy, costing you money and making you less comfortable. By finding and fixing those leaks, you can reduce your energy bills and increase your comfort level.
Where are the leaks in my house?
Leaks can occur anywhere where two materials meet. Common air leak culprits include:
- Windows — cracked or missing caulking around window frames
- Doors — gaps under or around exterior doors
- Basement — holes around where plumbing, wiring or ductwork penetrate exterior walls
- Attic — gaps around ceiling fans, recessed light fixtures and electrical outlets, as well as the attic access door
How do I fix leaks?
Sealing leaks is a simple project you can do yourself with supplies available at your local DIY retailer.
Seal windows with exterior caulk. Your best bet is silicone or siliconized caulk.
- Where the window meets the frame, scrape out any existing caulk and make sure the area is clean and dry.
- Cut the tips of the caulk at a 45-degree angle and load it into the caulking gun.
- Run the tips slowly and evenly along the base of the crack.
- Finish by running a wet fingertip along the bead of the caulk to smooth it out.
Fix gaps around exterior doors with weatherstripping and a door sweep.
- Measure the top and sides of the door and cut pieces of weatherstripping to fit each.
- Peel back the covering from the adhesive and press the weatherstripping to the inside of the doorstop, ensuring a snug fit.
- Cut the sweep (if needed) to match the width of the door and attach it with adhesive or screws.
Locate all ceiling fans, recessed lighting fixtures and electrical outlets in the ceiling below your attic. Each of these is a potential source of air leakage. From the attic, pull back the insulation to find the cutouts and seal them with caulk or expandable foam. Check for and seal gaps around plumbing vents, furnace flues and ductwork. Also, seal the attic door or access with weatherstripping.
Air can leak out of gaps and cracks in the rim joists, where the wall meets the ceiling, as well as plumbing and wiring holes on outside walls. Caulk is best for sealing gaps or cracks that are one-quarter inch or smaller. Use expandable foam to fill gaps up to 3 inches. Fill larger gaps by cutting and stuffing pieces of insulation.
For additional savings, consider a home energy assessment. A qualified professional will inspect your home and provide you with a customized set of recommendations to improve its energy efficiency.