Most homes in the United States are under insulated and have air leaks. Air that leaks through your home’s envelope − the outer walls, windows, doors, and other openings − wastes a lot of energy and increases your energy bill. In fact, if you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home’s envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year.
Caulking and weather-stripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, often in one year or less, and can be found at your local store. Homeowners typically save up to $200 a year in heating and cooling costs after sealing air leaks and added insulation where needed.
Caulk is a flexible material used to seal air leaks through cracks, gaps, or joints less than one-quarter-inch wide between stationary building components and materials. The best time to apply caulk is during dry weather when the outdoor temperature is above 45°F. Low humidity is important during application to prevent cracks from swelling with moisture. Warm temperatures are also necessary so the caulk will set properly and adhere to the surfaces.
Check out this video about how to seal air leaks with caulk.
You can use weather-stripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable building components, such as doors or operable windows.
Choose a type of weather-stripping that will withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with its location. For example, when applied to a door bottom or threshold, weather-stripping could drag on carpet or erode because of foot traffic. Weather-stripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes — up and down, sideways, or out. The weather-stripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed but allow it to open freely.
Here are a few basic guidelines:
- Weather-stripping should be applied to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F (-7° C).
- Measure the area to be weather-stripped twice before making a cut.
- Apply weather-stripping snugly against both surfaces. The material should compress when the window or door is shut.
Go here to learn more about weather-stripping.
When your home is properly ‘sealed’ your energy use goes down because the energy used stays inside. With the weather warming 14% from May to June, now is the time to take action. Don’t wait for a high bill!
For more tips and ways to save energy, visit dteenergy.com/spring.