Air leaks are one of the biggest causes of home energy loss. They can cost Southwest Florida homeowners hundreds of dollars a year. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce leaks in your home.
Step 1: Identify the air leaks.
You may want to have a professional evaluate your home to see where you’re losing the most energy. Check around these locations:
- Attic hatches
- Fireplace dampers
- Spot ventilation fans in ceilings
- Recessed lights
- Window and door frames
- Baseboard moldings
- Plumbing outlets through floors and ceilings
- Cracked or missing plaster
- Electric outlets and light switches
Step 2: Seal larger air leaks.
For areas like the attic hatch or plumbing chases, use rigid foam insulation. Fiberglass will also work, but it performs most efficiently when wrapped in plastic, because air can leak through fiberglass.
Step 3: Seal smaller air leaks.
If leaks are roughly a quarter-inch wide, you can seal them with caulk. If they are larger, try an expanding foam sealant. This usually works best in locations not exposed to sunlight or moisture. A flexible foam crack filler or backer rod can be used to fill in large gaps, or can even be stuffed into narrow cracks which you could then go over with caulk.
Step 4: Seal windows, or consider upgrading.
Use caulk to seal leaks around the edges of windows, or use weather stripping between the window and the frame. Weather stripping works for door frames, too. Curtains can prevent energy loss even further. If you have windows in your house that you don’t open, you can seal them with a clear plastic sheet and strong tape.
Consider replacing your current windows with a more energy-efficient option, such as windows certified by EnergyStar.
Step 5: Seal leaks in your ductwork.
If you can access some of your ducts in the attic, garage, basement or crawl space, make sure they’re sealed and insulated. Don’t use duct tape, but a duct mastic or sealant. Plastic or metal bands work best for flexible ducts.
Questions? Contact Conditioned Air. We’re happy to help homeowners in the Naples and Ft. Myers areas save energy.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air leaks and other HVAC topics, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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