Air Sealing Your Home Can Save You Power and Money
How to locate and terminate that draught.
Our dwellings must breathe, but they do not need to leak like a ship. Taking control of your home’s draughty areas is one of the most effective and cost-effective strategies to save money and cut your power bill. First Defense Insulation is an excellent resource for this.
Places that are cold.
Consider this: any area in your house where the builder cut or drilled a hole is a potential draughty place. The plumbers dug holes for pipes and drains, the heating man cut holes for ducts and vents, and the framer cut holes for access openings, windows, and doors.
Let’s look at some of the most prevalent draughty spots and how to avoid them.
- Electric outlets and light switches. You may feel the air coming into the room by placing your hand over a switch or outlet during a blower door decompression test. What is the source of this air? The majority of the air comes from the attic, and it travels along the same path as the wire. Gaskets designed to fit beneath the switch or outlet cover and seal the cover to the wall are available at your local hardware store.
- Heat registers in the floor or ceiling: The heating contractor drilled holes in the floor or ceiling to accommodate the heating boots. The heating ducts attach to the back side, and the registers fit into the boots. Frequently, the rectangular metal boot does not fit the floor or ceiling aperture. Look at the boot after removing the registration. An air leak exists between the boot and the floor boards, allowing air from the crawlspace to enter the house. To begin, a few nails may need to be placed to the boot to secure it to the wood floor. Then, using a caulk tube, make a good bead along the edge of the boot where it meets the wood.
- Attic and underfloor access covers: After windows and doors, attic and underfloor access openings are the next largest. Most access openings have attractive covers that fit inside the entrance and, at the very least, give the impression that it is sealed. The problem is that the contractor who built the cover for the entrance was only concerned with covering the opening and not with sealing it. Smooth and clean the surfaces that come together when the cover is in place to seal the access opening to the subfloor. Install a 1/4-inch foam weatherization strip between the joining surfaces, then batt insulation to the back of the cover and place it in the aperture. Set a box of your wife’s old school books square on the lid to assist the foam strip seal the seam.
- Plumbing penetrations under the sinks: The plumbing pipes must somehow make their way from the underfloor space to the sinks and faucets. To connect the pipes, the plumber made holes in the floor and occasionally the wall. The plumber was once again a contractor who was just interested in running a pipe and not in sealing holes. A can of expanding foam should be placed here. Remember that the foam will expand once you’ve sprayed it, so don’t get too carried away. Work the foam around the opening where the water and drain lines exit the cabinet and travel beneath the floor. Do not attempt to remove excess foam right away; instead, let the foam to dry overnight and then trim off the excess foam the next day using a sharp knife.