When you air seal your home, you’ll not only improve your indoor air quality, but you’ll also reduce your energy bills. In fact, air sealing is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to control the high cooling bills we get around Orlando.
Air sealing works by reducing energy waste. Cracks and gaps around your windows and doors, appliance vents, electrical outlets and elsewhere allow conditioned indoor air to escape and outdoor air to enter. They also let in outdoor pollution and Florida’s infamous humidity, contributing to mold growth and other moisture problems. Taken together, the air leaks in the average U.S. home cause the same amount of air infiltration as a window left open all the time.
All this leaking air forces your cooling or heating system to work harder and use more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. Sealing your home’s air leaks reduces the load on your HVAC system and can lower your heating and cooling bills by 5 to 20 percent. You’ll see the greatest benefit if you have an older home.
Before you air seal, you’ll need to find the leaks. The simplest way is to wait for a windy day and hold a smoke puffer or lit incense stick next to the places you expect to find leaks. If there’s an air leak, the smoke will drift sideways. To identify all points of air leakage, contact an HVAC professional for an energy audit. HVAC experts use specialized equipment to locate air leaks precisely as well as find areas with insufficient insulation and assess equipment efficiency.
You can air seal most smaller leaks with caulk or weatherstripping. Caulk is appropriate for non-moving parts, including window and door frames, penetrations for utility lines and vents, and baseboards. Weatherstripping is used around moving parts such as window sashes and door jambs. Expanding spray foam can be used to seal larger holes and cracks.
If you’d like expert tips on effectively sealing your home’s air leaks or you want to schedule a professional energy audit, please contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions. Since 1969, we’ve been helping Orlando area homeowners find easy, energy-efficient ways to stay comfortable.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about sealing air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock