Air sealing your home may be the best kind of spring cleaning activity you can perform, since it will keep your indoor air cleaner and reduce your cooling (and heating) bills. Many homes have significant air leaks that increase the conditioning load and allow air indoors that could be laden with pollen and other pollutants.
In the summer, those air leaks also bring in more humidity, increasing the feeling of warmth indoors and allowing for mold growth. Air leaks may occur around window and door frames, recessed lighting that goes into the attic, the exterior corners of your home, and the sill plate between the basement and the first floor. Attics can leak air through the hatch or door, and from pipes, flues or chimneys that enter and exit the attic. Leaks between the attic and living spaces can waste as much or more energy than leaks directly to the outside.
You can detect air leaks by shutting the windows and exterior doors and turning on the exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. Walk around the house with a lighted stick of incense. When you see the smoke wavering, it indicates that air is being pulled in from outdoors or the attic. Noting those locations on a floor plan of your home will help you go back and seal the leaks.
Caulk is an inexpensive and effective product to use for air sealing smaller leaks. Expanding foam works well on larger leaks, especially in out-of-the way places, like the basement sill plate and in the attic. When air sealing around chimneys and flues, use fireproof sealing products or metal flashing to stop the airflow.
Fresh weatherstripping around exterior doors and the attic hatch will stop air from coming indoors or out. If your home has an attached garage, make sure that the weatherstripping around the adjoining door is tight enough to keep air from the garage from leaking into your home. If the air pressure in the garage is higher than in the house, dirty air will move from the garage into your home, if air sealing is insufficient.
To learn more about air sealing and your home’s energy efficiency, please contact us at Comfort Systems. We’ve provided superior HVAC & Plumbing services for the Wichita area since 1995.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about sealing air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.