Like homeowners across the nation, Sacramento-area residents are looking for ways to lower utility bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Sealing air leaks is an important step in the right direction.
Here are some key spaces in your home that deserve special attention:
- Rim joists and sill plates: The sill plate is the wood immediately above the foundation. The rim joist sits on top of the sill plate. Air leaks are common along the top and bottom edges of both, especially in older homes. Use caulk along the edges, and for any quarter-inch or smaller gaps. Spray foam works well for larger leaks. Pay special attention to any extruding areas such as bay windows.
- Wires, pipes and ducts: Wires, pipes and ducts may penetrate your basement walls to the outdoors as well as to the floor above. Either way, there are usually air leaks where they pass through, which can be easily addressed with caulk. You’ll need high-temperature caulk if you seal your furnace flue; running a bead around the sleeve and the frame will do the job.
- Vents, windows and doors: If your furnace is vented, do not seal vents. You may boost energy efficiency by closing them off in winter, but you’ll want them open in summer for ventilation. Windows and access doors should be sealed around their edges, as you would in the main part of your home.
- Floors: If your basement floor is dirt, covering it with a layer of polyethylene or similar water-resistant material will cut down on moisture accumulation. Overlap layers slightly and seal with tape.
- Insulation: Since you’re down there sealing air leaks anyway, it’s a good time to insulate. Shaped insulation for ducts and pipes is easy to install and will improve efficiency as well as eliminate condensation. Insulating walls and the rim joist can be done with either batts or foam board. Seal seams with tape. Insulation is extra protection against air leaks, too.
If you have questions about sealing air leaks, contact the pros at ALL YEAR.
Our goal is to help educate our customers 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.
All Year services the Greater Sacramento area. Visit our website to see our special offers to get started today!
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