Weatherstripping and caulking your house: What you need to know

Whether you have a historic home or a newly-built residence, air can escape through cracks, gaps and...

Whether you have a historic home or a newly-built residence, air can escape through cracks, gaps and openings between household fixtures, which can raise your heating costs this winter. However, weatherstripping and caulking air leaks can reduce your utility costs. In fact, you can save up to $200 a year if you seal and insulate your home, which is approximately 10 percent of the energy cost for an average household.

Testing for air leaks

You can test for air leaks by holding a smoke pen or a burning incense stick next to areas where you suspect air is escaping. These areas include doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets and attic entrances. If the smoke blows horizontally, you probably have an air leak. If possible, it's best to perform this test on a windy day.

To check floors and ceilings for air leaks, inspect these areas for dirt and grime. This could be a sign that you may have air leaks from joists and joints.

Sealing air leaks

Caulk is used for sealing air leaks near stationary areas, such as:

  • Door and window frames
  • Foundation cracks
  • Drain pipes
  • Air conditioner wall units
  • Heating and air conditioning ducts
  • Plumbing vents
  • Woodwork connecting to walls and floors

Weatherstripping is used to seal air leaks at joints and movable areas, which include:

  • Inside the track of sliding or double-hung windows
  • On the top, sides and bottom of doors
  • In a door jamb
  • At the top and bottom of a window sash
  • Around door frames
  • Around attic hatches

If you need help, an Atlanta-area remodeler can assess your needs and provide a viable solution to keep your home airtight this winter.

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