Insulation’s primary function is to trap heat and keep homes warm. Insulation resists heat flow and when our attic’s temperature rises to 140 degrees in the summer time, that heat will radiate down to the living space causing the air system to work harder and making an uncomfortable home. Air sealing the home is a form of insulation and is one of the most cost effective ways to increase energy efficiency. No matter how well your house is insulated, if there are cracks and gaps, the air you just paid to heat or cool will quickly be lost.
All homes no matter what climate should be air sealed so we don’t have excessive air exchange from inside to outside. Air will move through a hole depending on the amount of pressure in the house so it has to be air sealed to make it energy efficient and the attic is the top priority. What happens when air leaks through holes? In the winter, if air leaks out of the house we need to have air leak into the house somewhere else to replace the air that left. That air is unconditioned so it has to be cooled or heated to make it more comfortable. As the seasons change, cracks will open and allow air to infiltrate, conditioned air to pass, and moisture to develop on walls in the house which causes mold, heat loss, and a high energy bill.
You may want to check different areas around your home to reduce air from seeping in. Start with the exterior of your house. Holes are mainly found around windows and doors. Insulate around the frame with a low expanding foam insulation and caulk at the frames. Examine all wall penetrations including pipes, vents, exhausts, and air intakes. Caulk around the perimeter of all exterior wall penetrations. And, check the trim: Caulk around the perimeter of the trim, and trim/siding intersections.
As for the interior of the home, you can also caulk the inside of your windows and doors frames. Look into the tubs and showers. You may find cracks and holes around outlets and light switches. Don’t skip the fireplace. Keep the damper closed when fireplace isn’t being used. And of course, never ignore the basement or attic. The attic is the most problematic area when considering insulation.
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