Energy costs are huge in many home owner’s minds and budget. One inexpensive but often overlooked way to make your home more energy efficient is to upgrade draft proofing.
If you feel cold air coming into your home remember warm air can escape out through the same gap. Drafts not only make your house less comfortable they can also be big energy wasters that inflate your bills.
You can easily locate air leaks yourself, all you need are incense sticks. Significant leaks will cause the smoke to dissipate and the tip of the incense stick to glow. Slower leaks will cause the smoke to trail away or move toward the leak. You can go around the house and identify and mark air-leakage locations that need to be sealed.
Alternatively you could consider hiring a Certified ecoEnergy Advisor to conduct a ‘Blower Door’ test. The Advisor will place a powerful fan in an outside doorway. After closing all windows and openings in the home the fan is turned on. You and the Advisor can then walk around the house feeling for problem areas and identifying air leaks.
Note: Unless your home has proper draft proofing, the cost of upgrading insulation will not produce the desired results.
Caulking is used to seal leaks in walls, ceilings, and floors. Caulking should only be used on the inside of exterior surfaces to prevent air from escaping and also to avoid exposure to outside elements.
Weatherstripping should fit tightly around all doors and windows. For exterior doors use weatherstripping around the sides and top of the door.
If you notice a draft through outside wall electrical outlets, they should be sealed. There are special CSA approved foam pads that fit between the cover plate and receptacles. You will obtain a better seal if you caulk the gasket before installation. Be sure to turn off the power to the outlet at the circuit breaker before working around any receptacle.
Areas of air leakage around trim can easily closed by sealing all the joints with a flexible caulking. Insulate wide cracks with a foam backer rod and seal with caulking or polyurethane foam.
Seal the attic hatch exactly as you would seal a door to the outside. Caulk around the frame and between the casing and the ceiling plaster board. Apply weatherstripping along the edges of either the casing or the access panel itself. The hatch itself should be insulated.