Over time, even the most airtight structure will develop leaks where conditioned air seeps out and unconditioned air filters in. The leaks can also allow unwanted humidity and airborne particulates, such as pollen and dust, inside. Furthermore, the unconditioned air that seeps inside will compromise air conditioner and furnace efficiency, driving up utility bills. If this is happening in your home, air sealing is the way to prevent it.
Major Sources of Air Leaks
Air can leak through a number of points in a home. Some of the major sites are: where old caulk is cracked around windows; the gap between window panes; under the door; through electric boxes and gaps around exterior openings for cables, pipes and wires; around recessed lights; and through ductwork. Other points of entry are around furnace and water flues, chimney flashing and the attic entrance. Air infiltration can also occur where foundations and walls meet, or at the at the intersection of wood siding and brick.
Air Sealing Leaks
Although you probably have insulation in your walls to block the movement of heat, your insulation does not necessarily block air infiltration. When wind blows against your home, it finds its way in through the sources of leaks listed above. Here’s a brief guide on how to deal with these leaks.
- Scrape old, cracked caulk away from window glass and reapply fresh caulk in a neat edge where the glass meets the window frame.
- Add insulation strips between window panes and between doors and frames if there’s a gap.
- Install foam gaskets in electric boxes; spray foam insulation to fill up crevices. Insulate around gaps in exterior walls where cables, wires and pipes come through.
- Install door sweeps under doors.
- Insulate recessed lighting canisters in the attic.
- Seal cracks, gaps and holes in ductwork.
- Seal around fireplace flues and chimneys with sheet metal, sheetrock or furnace cement caulk (using only fire-resistant materials).
- Use foam sealant around window frames and along baseboards.
For more on air sealing, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We’ve served Grand Traverse County and the surrounding area since 1980.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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