Sealing your home’s envelope is an effective, low-cost way to reduce cooling costs. But it also provides energy-efficiency benefits year-round. In the summer, leaks in your home’s outer perimeter, or the envelope, allow hotter outside air to indoors, since warm air will always travel toward cooler spaces. In winter, the reverse happens: Warm air will move toward the cooler air outside of your home if there are leaks present.
In both seasons, air leaks will cause your heating and cooling equipment to consume more energy since it must compensate for energy losses with longer cycles. For this reason, sealing your home can have a positive effect on your energy budget year-round.
There are two important steps to take to seal your home.
- Locate air leaks in your home’s envelope. Inspect areas in the attic and around the attic hatch, areas where wiring penetrates walls or ceilings, plumbing protrusions, around recessed lighting, ductwork penetrations, where the basement’s foundation joins with the wood framing and around window frames and doors.
- In order to seal leaks, you’ll need the right materials, which will likely include:
- Basic caulk, either latex or silicone, for sealing smaller leaks under 1/4 inch
- Spray foam to fill bigger leaks, those larger than 1/4 inch but smaller than 2 inches
- Caulk that is resistant to higher temperatures for filling gaps around chimneys or flues
- Caulk gun
- Safety glasses, gloves and mask (to protect yourself when working around insulated areas)
If you want to seal air leaks in your ductwork at the same time, you’ll need special materials for the job, including mastic sealant and metal-backed tape, which are designed to adhere to the duct’s metal materials.
Get control over cooling costs and save money year-round by sealing your home. For expert help or advice, contact Roth Heating & Cooling today! We’ve served homeowners in the Portland metro area since 1976.