Rehoboth Beach Home owners, like everyone else, like to think they are in control of what enters into their homes. The reality is most homes have not been weatherized to ensure that those pesky drafts don’t make an unwelcome entrance. A simple visual inventory can easily identify most problem areas and many can be corrected with caulk, weather stripping, and expandable spray foam. Some areas may require a little more attention and supplies but the investment of both can add up to savings. The good news is anyone can master their domain, keeping away that uninvited winter guest, just by following the guidelines below.
- Doors & Windows – Gaps are not your friend and can be eliminated with a bead of clear or paintable acrylic later caulk. The larger ones may need to be filled with foam back rod first and then the caulk application. Those interior doors that lead to unheated areas such as garages, basements, etc. should be weatherstipped and consider replacing older, hollow core doors with solid core or if possible, insulated metal doors.
- Exterior Breakthroughs – Not so obvious in your search, some of these breakthrough areas where leaks occur are exterior faucets, dryer vents, exterior light fixtures and electrical outlets, and holes that have been drilled for phone and television cables, any type of conduit penetrations, including air conditioning lines, and exit points for plumbing drains. Depending on the area and size of the breakthrough a variety of techniques may be required including the use of caulk, expanding spray foam and in the case of electrical boxes and fixtures; specific gaskets designed for this purpose may be required.
- Exhaust and interior vents – Most vents including dryer, range hood, bath fans and other ventilation equipments terminate outside the house in a plastic or metal cover that has one or more louvers on it. Make a visual inspection to ensure that the louvers are in a closed position when the fan is not on and that no air leaks are present. If the louver does not close properly, the spring tension used to hold them closed can be adjusted. Also the addition of foam weatherstripping tape can improve the security of the seal. Inside your home, this very same ventilation equipment can be a source of leakage of heated air along with recessed light fixtures. Seal any gaps around recessed light cans with caulking. Remove the covers of recessed lights and vents, then adjust the springs and/or add foam weather-stripping tape creating a secure seal between the ceiling and the cover itself.
- Gaps in Heat-duct – Heated air could be escaping into the attic or crawl space through the gaps around heating-duct cans where they pass through the wall or floor. These drafts can be closed by removal of the register and using a combination of caulking and/or metallic duct sealant tape to close the gaps between the cans and the wall, ceiling, or floor surface.
- Woodstoves and fireplaces – Make a visual inspection of flue pipes of woodstove and gas fireplace flues looking for gaps and check for air leaks around masonry chimneys. Seal gaps with heat-resistant sealant formulated for this purpose and if necessary, install a metal collar around flue pipes to stop the leakage in that area. Keep the damper closed on conventional fireplaces except when burning a fire. This will prevent heated air from escaping up the chimney. Air tight doors which can close off the air leaks and make your fires more efficient are a wise investment.
- Crawl space and attic hatches – Simple weather-stripping of these areas can take care of real air loss. Sealing with foam tape will ensure these hatches are well insulated.
- Sill plates – These areas can be a bit tougher to tackle but well worth your efforts. Where the sill plate meets the foundation or siding air leaks into and out of the house through any gaps. Gaps can also exist between your siding and the bottom of the exterior wall, especially in older homes. This big air gap can be closed with a bead of caulking or expanding foam. Take it a step further in accessible areas in the basement, crawl space, and attic and seal any visible gaps from pipes and wires that pass through wall plates.