When you’re looking for ways to cut energy costs, consider sources of energy loss. Many homes lose energy through air leaks. In winter, this makes your heating system struggle to keep you warm. Likewise, in summer your A/C has more work as well. Sealing these air leaks is an important step in creating an energy-efficient home.
The faster you address the larger sources of air leakage, the faster you will cut energy waste. Common areas for large air leakage include:
- Plumbing drain holes – especially bathtub drain holes: Check out all places where plumbing pipes enter your home. Often, there will be big holes that plumbers have cut to fit the drain.
- Hollow wall sections for ductwork and utilities: Any openings from these to the home’s interior can mean big air leakage.
Move to medium
The natural next move is to seal medium-sized holes. These include gaps around flues, ductwork and pipes.
Tackle the small
Small sources of air leaks add up. These small areas include:
- Gaps around windows and doors
- Holes for wiring
- Gaps around chimney flashing
- Attic entrance
- Recessed lighting
Materials to use
Use weatherstripping around doors, window sashes and other places that should not be sealed shut. Caulk can be used around window frames, recessed lighting and other small areas of air leakage. Other materials, such as expanding spray foam, may be needed for large gaps. Use only flame retardant/non-combustible sealants and materials around potential fire hazards, such as flues.
When in doubt, always consult a professional before sealing air leaks. This is especially important when working around furnaces, water heaters and other fuel-burning appliances, as well as electricity. Because sealing all of a home’s air leaks is a laborious, time-consuming process requiring some expert knowledge, most people are better off leaving it to professionals in any case.
For more information about sealing air leaks and other ways to bring more comfort and energy efficiency to your home, please contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We serve Grand Traverse County and the surrounding area.
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). For more information about sealing air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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