Air leakage through cracks and gaps leads to loss of heated or cooled air from your home’s interior and the introduction of unconditioned air into your home. Eventually, it also reduces indoor air quality and increases your utility bills. Air-sealing is a cost-effective way of reducing air leakage and improving your home’s comfort. Here are some techniques you can use to air-seal your home successfully.
Caulking is used to seal air leaks in gaps, cracks, and joints that are smaller than a quarter inch wide. If used in an area wider than a quarter inch, the caulking compound can fall out of the groove. Caulking compounds are flexible and vary in properties and prices. Most of them come in disposable cartridges and are applied with caulking guns.
Caulking is a simple DIY project. Some of the areas to which you can apply caulk include window frame joints, wall penetrations such as pipes and vents, tubs, showers, basements, and crawl spaces.
Expanding foam is used in areas that are too wide for caulking compounds. It expands and fills large cracks, holes, or openings, forming a good, tight air and thermal barrier. It is commonly used in air-sealing pipe and wire penetrations.
Expanding foam is highly flammable. Make sure you read carefully and follow all the manufacturer’s directions.
Weather stripping is used to air-seal movable components like operable windows and doors. Different types of weather stripping vary in price and properties, such as the ability to withstand moisture and friction. For instance, open-cell foam and felt are inexpensive and easy to apply. However, they are susceptible to weather and block airflow inefficiently. They work best in low-traffic areas. Vinyl is more expensive but resistant to moisture. Metal weather stripping is the most durable option.
Some areas require a backing material to be installed for airflow to be blocked effectively. Such materials include foam-backing rods, wood, drywall, and foam boards.
By air-sealing your home, you will reduce your energy bills. For more information, contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We serve the Greater Cleveland area.
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