by Harvey Bond
Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter can waste a lot of your energy dollars.
One of the quickest dollar-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. You can save 10% or more on your energy bill by reducing the air leaks in your home.
Tips for Finding And Sealing Air Leaks
• First, test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside.
If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.
Sources of Air Leaks in Your Home
Areas that leak air into and out of your home cost you lots of money.
Check carefully the areas listed below
Water heater and furnace flues
Electrical outlets and switches
Plumbing and utility access
Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks
• Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
• Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
• Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
• Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which often indicate holes where air leaks into and out of your house. You can seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.
• Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace them with doublepane windows.
• When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed. A chimney is designed specifically for smoke to escape, so until you close it, warm air escapes—24 hours a day!
• For new construction, reduce exterior wall leaks by either installing house wrap, taping the joints of exterior sheathing, or comprehensively caulking and sealing the exterior walls.
How and Where Does the Air Escape?
• Plumbing penetrations 13%
• Windows 10%
• Floors, walls, and ceiling 31%
• Fireplace 14%
• Fans and vents 4%
• Doors 11%
• Ducts 15%
• Electric outlets 2%
Air infiltrates into and out of your home through every hole, nook, and cranny. About one-third of this air infiltrates through openings in your
ceilings, walls, and floors.