You might be wondering if adding ” air sealing house” to your to-do list is worth it. It is. Air sealing, along with insulation, is one of the most important ways to improve the comfort and health of your home. Contractors and homeowners often overlook it. Many people are unaware of the significant impact air sealing has on their homes’ comfort. Some homeowners worry that too much sealing could make their homes unsafe or stuffy.
1. How Much Your Air Drafts Could Be Costing You
Sometimes it’s just easier to stay inside on cold winter days. Sounds cozy, right? It’s not easy to do that in a home full of drafts.
Drafts or air leaks can make homeowners’ nightmares come true. Drafts can make your space uncomfortable and increase your NYSEG bills. Your heating system will go into overdrive to maintain your home’s temperature. This could also lead to health problems.
Although air leaks can be obvious, such as the gap under your door, they are often difficult to spot. It could be one or both. Air leaks account for 25-40% of energy wasted by heating and cooling homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR program.
This number will vary depending on where you live and the climate. However, it will also depend on what type of home you have. Single-family homes are more likely to leak than apartments. However, single-family homes also have higher heating and cooling costs per square foot.
Mold can be caused by air leakage and structural damage can result from moisture buildup in exterior walls. Air leaks in summer can allow in humid outdoor air, while winter brings in warm, humid indoor air. Mold can form in walls due to condensation, which can cause indoor air quality problems and adversely affect your health. It can be expensive to repair mold damage, especially structural damage.
2. Seal Your Home With These Simple Tips
You can reduce air leaks in your home by taking simple steps that are both cost-effective and will result in a rapid return on your investment in energy. They can also immediately improve the comfort of your New York home.
Make it a habit of locking external doors during your daily routine so that the door seals tightly against the weatherstripping. Close the damper tight when you aren’t using your fireplace. To prevent cold air from entering your home through your dryer vent, keep your dryer door shut. To prevent air from getting in, cover exhaust fans that aren’t being used. Although not considered to be air leaks, active fans like your bathroom fan or kitchen hood move warm air in winter and cool in summer. These airflows must then be replaced by your heating/air conditioning system. Turn them off when not in use.
Take a look around your house to make sure you have all the cracks and gaps sealed with caulking. Also, install or replace the weatherstripping around the doors and windows. This includes your basement hatch and attic hatch. The EPA recommends inspecting any area where two building materials meet. These are the areas where plumbing and electrical wiring enter walls, floors, ceilings, and ceilings. Electrical outlets, phone lines, and mail slots are all areas that are often forgotten.
You can seal larger gaps and holes with foam sealants from your local hardware shop. You can use expanding spray foam sealants to close gaps behind baseboards and in other less visible places. Use a fire-stop sealant when working around electrical equipment. You can remove any window air conditioner units from your home and keep them safe over the winter. This will allow you to close the window completely, reducing air leakage.
3. Other Ways You Can Protect Your Home
Although air sealing your house is a great way to lower your energy bills, insulation can make your walls more comfortable by reducing heat escape. It is possible to add insulation in areas that are easily accessible, such as the basement ceiling and attic floor. You can replace your old windows with energy-efficient double-pane and high-performance three-pane windows. If air leaks through your exterior doors or windows, you should consider replacing them with newer, insulated doors.
A blower test is an excellent way to begin air sealing your entire house. To find more leaks, the test depressurizes your house. This test can be used as part of an energy audit to identify additional ways to save energy in your house, such as installing insulation. As part of their energy efficiency programs, many utilities in New York offer discounts for blower door testing.
The ceilings and attic are the most important places to insulate and air seal your home. You can be sure that your attic floor is heating up with a lot of heat. This could mean that as much as 30% to 50% (or more) of your home’s heating power goes through the attic floor.
This is because heat rises in a non-insulated home and slips through the ceilings, causing it to escape through the roof and out through the top. Even more concerning is the fact that all the heat escaping through the roof creates a huge vacuum effect that actively draws in cold air from outside. This makes windows, doors, and other entryways seem draftier than they really are. You may have noticed cold air coming into your home during winter, because it is being pulled in from the vacuum created by the hot air escaping.
You can interrupt this process by doing everything you can to prevent heated air from rising and out of your house. This includes installing high-quality insulation, as well as air sealing your home.
Yes, smart thermostats, the most efficient HVAC systems, new appliances and other energy-saving upgrades are all important. However, your home’s appeal to potential buyers as well as your comfort can be improved by air sealing and attic insulation. Air sealing your home is a worthwhile investment–one that pays off in energy efficiency, comfort, and your home’s value.