Air Sealing Your Home

Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. 

Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, often one year or less. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.  

Air Leakage

Air leakage occurs when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. It is unwise to rely on air leakage for ventilation. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it’s warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, which can result in poor indoor air quality. Air leakage also contributes to moisture problems that can affect occupants’ health and the structure’s durability. An added benefit is that sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort.

Tips for Sealing Air Leaks

  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  • Inspect dirty spots in your insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
  • Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
  • Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See theWindows section for more information.
  • Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
  • Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
  • Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
  • Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
  • Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
  • Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.

Note that air sealing alone doesn’t eliminate the need for proper insulation to reduce heat flow through the building envelope.

Work Cited

“Air Sealing Your Home.” Energy.gov, www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/air-sealing-your-home.

Related Posts

Home Energy Audits – are they worth it?

What we test for during your audit What we look for during your audit During the data collection part of your home energy audit, the lead auditor will inspect your attic insulation, rim band joist, crawl spaces, duct system, etc, and will begin assessing recommendations for improvement. The audit support will gather information on your

Read More »

Winter Energy Saving Tips

Winter is nearly here! Besides bundling up in a bulky sweater and laying next to a space heater, here is a list of other measures you can take to stay warm this winter all while saving you heat and energy costs. Lower the thermostat When you leave your home overnight or even if you’re just

Read More »

Maryland Leads Energy Success with TOU Pilot Program

What is TOU? History of TOU Programs Summary of Findings Customers were randomly recruited with the opportunity to participate and presented with their potential energy bill savings. Those who agreed began using the TOU rates at the beginning of April 2019 and have the option to remain on the rates until April 2022. As of

Read More »
Scroll to Top