If you’d like to trim your energy budget, try sealing your home. It’s an inexpensive way to save on your cooling and heating bills. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that as much as half of the typical household’s utility expenses go for heating and cooling. When you seal the air leaks, you start saving energy immediately.
One of the easiest ways to find air leaks indoors is to conduct your own form of blower door test, which HVAC technicians and energy auditors use to detect air leaks in your home. First, draw a simple outline of your home’s layout. Turn off all your gas- or fuel-burning appliances and shut the windows and exterior doors. Next, turn on all the ventilating fans in bathrooms and the kitchen. Walk through your home with a burning stick of incense and note on the floor plan where the smoke moves more than normal.
Once you’re done with each floor of your home, go back to investigate the air leaks you noted on the paper. The incense smoke blows more where the fans are bringing in a draft. Likely places to look when sealing your home include:
- Window frames;
- Exterior door frames;
- Electrical outlets and switches indoors that sit on exterior walls;
- Pipes coming into or out of your home;
- Dryer vents;
- Mail chutes;
- Wall or window air conditioners;
- Cables coming inside; and
- Electric and gas service entrances.
The materials to seal these leaks include exterior caulk, fresh weather-stripping, insulation and expanding foam. You can also apply door sweeps to the exterior doors to lower air infiltration in your home’s envelope. Electrical outlet and switch gaskets are available at home centers.
If you have trouble finding air leaks when sealing your home, consider taking a sheet of paper and closing the doors and windows on it. If you can remove the paper by pulling it, those doors and windows have leaks.
Elite Air, Inc. has provided HVAC services to Central New Jersey homeowners for more than 25 years. If you would like more information about sealing your home, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about sealing your home and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.