What Weatherization Projects Are Worth Tackling in Your North Carolina Home?
- March 06, 2015
Heat losses and gains through leaks in the shell of a home have a big impact on comfort and yearly energy costs. To put the impact in perspective, the number of leaks in the typical American home add up to a four-foot square hole in the shell. When you consider that heating and cooling accounts for 48 percent of total annual energy consumption in the average home, completing weatherization projects makes sense.
The process of sealing up conditioned air escape routes in a home’s shell is known as weatherization. Taking a proactive approach to home weatherizing is the least expensive and most effective way to increase your comfort level, reduce energy consumption and lower annual heating and cooling costs.
There are a number of easy-to-tackle weatherization projects for different areas of the home.
Sealing the Attic
- Prevent conditioned air losses by sealing and insulating the access door. Cut a piece of batt insulation to fit and secure it to the upper side of the door. Next, install self-adhesive foam weatherstripping around the edges of the door. If the door doesn’t close snugly, install a latch-type bolt to keep it sealed.
- If a chimney passes through the attic, use a combination of high-temperature sealant and metal flashing to plug any gaps around it that allow air to rise up from the living areas.
- Seal around plumbing vents with caulk.
- If you can look down into the wall cavities from the attic of your older home, block these air escape routes with rigid insulation. Follow up with caulk for an effective seal.
- Use caulk, rigid insulation and/or expandable foam to seal any gaps or holes in the attic floor that let conditioned air escape from the living space below.
- Seal the joints of any HVAC ductwork using mastic or metal-backed tape. Once they’re sealed, wrap the ducts with R-6 insulation.
Addressing Air Leaks in Living Areas
- Place foam insulating gaskets behind all electrical plug and switch plates located on exterior walls.
- Check for gaps where exterior walls meet the floors and seal them up with caulk.
- If the fireplace isn’t used, seal off the flue with rigid insulation or a chimney balloon, and make sure the damper is closed. For a fireplace that’s used periodically, stop conditioned air losses by adding a set of well-fitting glass doors.
Weatherizing Exterior Doors and Windows
- Use caulk to seal gaps around window and door frames and adjacent walls.
- Replace any broken or missing window sash locks that leave gaps where air can escape.
- Add weatherstripping around exterior doors. When doing so, be sure to open each door and place weatherstripping around the jamb as well.
- Add new vinyl or rubber exterior door sweeps. Correct gaps under a door by turning the adjustment screws to raise the threshold. If there are no screws, replace the threshold with one that’s adjustable.
- Re-putty loose window panes and replace any broken ones.
- Use weatherstripping or flexible rope caulk to seal the moving parts on all windows that open.
- On double-hung windows, apply weatherstripping along the bottom of the top sash and the tracks while the window is open.
- Add storm windows on the exterior to seal drafty single-pane windows. Alternately, use window film on the interior to help stop air leaks.
Air Sealing the Basement or Crawl Space
- Seal holes and gaps between the living area and the crawl space or basement using caulk and/or expandable foam insulation. Leaks are typically found around plumbing, electrical and chimney penetrations.
- If ductwork runs through the space, seal and insulate any that’s accessible.
- Use removable rope caulk to seal any basement window frames.
- Check for and seal gaps between the home’s foundation and the rim joist and fill in any holes in the foundation walls. Use expandable foam for larger areas and caulk for smaller gaps.
Weatherizing Around the Exterior
- Check for and plug any holes and gaps where different types of building materials meet, such as between the rim joist and foundation, or where the chimney meets the siding.
- Seal gaps around every penetration through the exterior shell, such plumbing, electrical, utility and water lines. Seal around exhaust fan, HVAC and appliance vents covers too.
- If any vent covers are damaged or don’t close properly, replace them.
- Apply caulk around all window and door frames to keep out moisture and seal air leaks.
Learn more about weatherization options provided by Comfort Services, Inc. or contact us today at (910) 695-2665 to schedule a professional inspection.
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