As I get older, I hate the thought of leakage…in my home. I know that if I can caulk and seal, it can improve my energy efficiency, thus reducing my utility bills for heating and cooling. I also know sealing up cracks and crevices in my home can improve the quality of my indoor air by preventing pest access and eliminating entryways for dirt and moisture.
Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows that leak air. The US Department of Energy reports that caulking and weather-stripping can offer a year or less return on your investment. If you can rattle doors and windows, that movement can indicate leakage possibilities. Relying on your home’s air leakage for natural ventilation is not recommended as it can contribute to moisture problems, which unchecked, can lead to mold and mildew issues.
Where to Focus:
Think about focusing on areas where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets. Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out. Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists and caulk them.
Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
Don’t Forget Seasonal Items
Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.
Inside Your Home
Inspect the following areas for cracks and gaps that could cause air leaks:
- Electrical outlets
- Switch plates
- Door and window frames
- Electrical and gas service entrances
- Weather-stripping around doors
- Fireplace dampers
- Attic hatches
- Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners
- Cable TV and phone lines
- Where dryer vents pass through walls
- Vents and fans
Time to Assess
If you are considering remodeling your home, that is a great time to assess other energy efficient opportunities. Do you have tips for caulking and sealing? Need information on how to select energy efficient windows for Florida? Please contact Katherine at 386-362-2771. UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution.