Home air sealing is the process of identifying and sealing points in your home that allow air from the outside to leak inside. This often requires a fairly extensive search of the house. While common air entry points can be quickly found in doorways and window seams, cracks in your home’s attic and/or crawl space are just as common.
Now that we know what air sealing your home is, is it really worth the trouble? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Let’s go over why air sealing your home is so important before we get into how you can do it yourself.
Why You Should Air Seal Your Home
Your home is a shelter. But with air leaks, it can’t do its job quite as effectively. Here are some reasons you should air seal your home.
- Better insulation: Air sealing is more than just keeping the outside air out of your home; it’s also about keeping the right air inside. Your home will be better prepared to protect you from outdoor temperatures when properly sealed, no matter how cold or hot it gets outside.
- More efficient energy consumption: Running your AC or heat with unresolved air leaks can be just as pointless as blasting your temperature control with an open window. Sealing those leaks allows your temperature control system to run more efficiently, saving you energy. Combine this with other energy-saving practices to make your home even more efficient.
- Consistent temperatures: Is there a room or area in your home that always seems to be particularly cold in the winter? That’s likely a result of air leakage. Air sealing your home will ensure you have relatively consistent and equivalent temperatures throughout your home.
- Improved indoor air quality: Excess pollen, smog, and smoke from summer forest fires are all reasons to stay inside. But if you have air leaks, not even your home can be a shelter from the proverbial storm. Sealing those up can help you maintain consistent air quality in your home.
How Do You Know if Your Home Needs Air Sealing?
No matter how newly built or renovated your home is, it’s likely there are at least some air leaks that need to be addressed. Here are some obvious signs your home needs air sealing:
- Drafty rooms: Feeling light gusts of air in your home while all of your doors and windows are closed is a surefire sign of air leaks. Drafts are easier to notice when the air is colder, so make a point to pay special attention to drafts during the winter months.
- High energy bills: Air leaks mean your AC or furnace will turn on more frequently to maintain your desired temperature. If you notice your energy bill is higher now than it was in previous years, that could be a sign of air leakage.
- Mold and mildew: Moisture in the air can cause mold and mildew to grow on your walls and in your carpets. So if you see any signs of mold, check the surrounding area for leaks.
- Water leaks: If the cracks are large enough, water will come through during rainstorms. Look in your attic and inspect the ceilings—if you see water damage marks, that’s a likely sign of a leak.
How to Find Air Leaks in Your Home
The simplest way to search for air leaks in your home is via visual inspection. There are two parts to this inspection: exterior and interior.
Exterior Visual Inspection
Inspect all areas of your house where two structures meet, like:
- Exterior corners
- Window sills
- Outdoor faucets
- Where the foundation meets the bottom exterior
Interior Visual Inspection
There’s more to look for inside your home. Inspect the following areas for leaks:
- Window and door frames
- Weatherstripping around doors
- Electric/gas service entrances
- Outlet and switch plates
- Air vents
- Phone and internet lines
- Mounted air conditioning units
- Dryer vent connection
How to Air Seal Your Home
It’s finally time to learn how to seal air leaks in your home. Air sealing your home is just one of many steps you should take when weatherizing your home, but it’s a very important one nonetheless. We’ll go over some common areas where leaks occur and the materials you’ll need to seal the cracks.
What you’ll need:
- Exterior-grade caulk/roofing sealant
- Reinforcement webbing
Leaks around your chimney or where two sections of your roof meet should be first filled with caulk and then shielded with metal flashing.
If you have a crack on the surface of your roof, the crack should be cleaned and brushed off before applying a layer of mastic. Once the first layer is applied, add a strip of reinforcement webbing. Then seal it with a second layer of mastic.
What you’ll need:
- Foam spray insulation
- Interior-grade caulk
Address smaller cracks with caulk. Then spray larger areas with a foam spray caulk, which will expand and help keep your attic adequately insulated.
What you’ll need:
- Interior-grade paintable caulk
Sealing baseboards is relatively simple and inexpensive. Make sure to apply it to the top and bottom of the baseboard. If the previous caulk on your baseboard has peeled off, remove any old caulk and reapply with paintable caulk.
Windows and Doors
What you’ll need:
If there are large gaps between the wall and your door or window frame, fill that with weatherstripping; you may need to remove the old weatherstripping before doing so. Weatherstrips come with an adhesive side for easy installation. Just measure the area, cut to length, and stick it where needed.
Save More Energy Today
Air sealing your home is a quick and cost-effective way to save energy, but there are a large variety of ways to make your home and office more eco-friendly.
Read more about how you can save more energy on our blog or consider switching to a green energy plan is a great way to reduce your footprint. Contact Spring Power and Gas today.