Applying Caulking and Weatherstripping In Your Home
Applying caulking and weatherstripping is the least expensive, most direct way to reduce air leakage in your home and save energy. Heat energy is always seeking ways into or out of a house. During winter, it’s trying to escape through every crack and gap in the structure. In many homes, small, inconspicuous sources of air leakage can commonly total over two square feet—the equivalent of leaving a window standing wide open 24/7. Fortunately, this most common source of energy loss and discomfort can be economically reduced by applying caulking and weatherstripping to seal the leaks.
Locating the leaks
Your HVAC contractor can conduct a blower door test to determine the degree of air leakage and pinpoint the exact location of leaks. A homeowner can make a DIY estimation by using smoke from a stick of incense held up to windows, doors and other suspected leak sources. If the smoke stream deflects, this indicates air movement.
Filling the leaks
Use weatherstripping to close the gaps around doors and window sashes. Size the weatherstripping to seal leakage but not bind or tear when the door or window is opened. Adhesive-backed, foam weatherstripping tape is the least expensive option. Rubber or vinyl bulb-type weatherstripping costs more but seals better and lasts longer. Aluminum or rubber door sweeps effectively close the large gaps under doors.
Silicone caulking should be utilized to fill structural cracks and long, narrow openings 1/4-inch wide or less. Use a half-barrel caulking gun and disposable cartridges for the greatest economy. Some of the usual suspects for air leakage in a home include:
- The long joint where baseboards meet the floor
- Penetration points where pipes, plumbing vents and exhaust ducts enter the attic
- The joint where interior walls meet the ceiling and corners where walls intersect
- The joint between exterior siding and the foundation sill
- Around holes in the wall for telephone, cable TV or satellite systems
Sobieski Services is the homeowner’s source for energy-saving HVAC sales and service. Contact us for more advice about applying caulking and weatherstripping to stop air leakage in your home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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