Feeling a draft in your home is never good during the winter or summer season. Not only are they frustrating and uncomfortable but they are most definitely costing you money on your energy bills. Air leaks in your home allow heated or cooled air to escape causing your HVAC equipment to work harder than necessary to keep up. In fact, these drafts can add anywhere from 5 to 30% to your energy bill.
So, what is the best way to find and seal air leaks? You can always call in an expert that can run tests to find all the air leaks no matter how big or small but you can also run a few DIY tests yourself as well. The majority of air leaks in your home will be found around doors and windows. These can be sealed relatively easy with weather stripping or caulking. Other areas of concern are attics, plumbing vents, recessed lighting, and wiring holes.
TESTING FOR AIR LEAKS
Finding air leaks can be done fairly easily with common house-hold items.
Start with a visual inspection in and outside of your home. Walking around the exterior of your home, look for old or cracked caulking revealing a gap between a window or door frame and your home’s siding. If you live in an older home with single-pane windows you also should look for damaged glazing, which is the hard putty that holds the individual panes of glass in place. From the inside of your home, inspect the threshold under each door, looking for daylight or other obvious signs of an opening that is too big and needs to be sealed shut. Make sure that the weather stripping around the windows and doors is in good condition, taking note of any damaged weather stripping that needs to be replaced.
Once the visual inspection is completed start looking for drafts using a candle or incense. When using candles or incense be sure to do so using extreme caution to avoid a fire. Before starting make sure your HVAC unit is in the off position so that it is not pushing any air through your vents. Using the lit candle or incense walk around your home watching for the smoke from the incense or the flame from your candle start to dance. Any sudden movement will indicate a draft that needs to be sealed.
SEALING DRAFTS IN AND AROUND YOUR HOME
Repairing and sealing leaks around and in your home is easily done with inexpensive products found at local hardware stores.
When purchasing caulking you’ll find a wide verity of options to choose from. Silicone based caulk is best for the outside of your home as they are typically 100% weather proof. When sealing the inside of your home we recommend a latex caulk. While purchasing caulking materials be sure to purchase a caulk gun should you not already have one on hand. They are interchangeable so you only need one and they can range anywhere from $10.00 to $200.00. When applying caulking around exterior windows make sure the temperature is no less than 50 degrees. In addition, be sure there is no rain in the forecast for at least 24 hours.
Weather stripping will also come in varies types. Weather seal tape sold by the roll is most commonly used. There will also be an option for a vinyl-clad type of weather stripping used around doors. The vinyl-clad weather stripping will be slightly more costly but typically lasts longer than the weather stripping tape roll.
There are loads of online videos and tutorials with step by step instructions to walk you through both processes.
Other ways to save!
Another way to save on your energy bill during the summer and winter seasons is having your HVAC equipment maintained. A well maintained system will tend to have a longer life expectancy, higher efficiency levels, and less breakdowns leading to more savings. R. A. Styron Heating & Air is your local Hampton Roads HVAC expert providing residents with a comprehensive thorough cleaning and inspection of any type of system installed in your home. Multiple payment options are offered for both annual and biannual maintenance packages. Scheduling is also a breeze both online or over the phone at 757-420-5488. Save $25.00 off a bi-annual contract simply by mentioning this blog further adding to your savings. Don’t delay, show your HVAC some love today!