If your energy bills seem to be a little higher than they should be, it may be due to tiny gaps and cracks throughout your home that are letting cold air in and warm air out (and vice versa). These develop over time in areas where two different materials meet, due to the varying expansion and contraction rates of the materials. Fortunately, this problem can be fixed easily and inexpensively by applying caulking and weatherstripping.
How to Detect Air Leaks
The first step in deciding where to apply new caulk or weatherstripping is to determine where air is leaking in. A cold draft coming in under the door or through a window can be felt as you walk by, but other leaks are less noticeable. As mentioned before, leaks most often occur where two different surfaces adjoin each other, so be sure to thoroughly examine the following areas:
- Window panes & doors
- Vents & exhaust fans
- Outdoor faucets
- Cable TV & phone lines
- Air conditioners
- Gas & electrical service entrances
- Anywhere two materials meet
When to Use Caulk
Caulk is most effective when used to seal gaps between two non-moving surfaces that are ¼-inch wide or less. It generally comes in a tube that’s inserted into and applied with a caulking gun, though it does come in other forms based on the application. Caulk comes out as a thick paste that, when dried, is airtight and waterproof. In addition to plugging air leaks throughout the house, caulk is an important tool for preventing water damage around faucets, drains, water pipes, bathtubs and other plumbing fixtures. It also provides a nice transition between baseboards and flooring, counters and walls, and walls and ceilings.
When to Use Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping is most often used to seal gaps between movable surfaces, such as an exterior door and its frame, the bottom of a door and the threshold, or a window and its frame. The simplest (and least expensive) kind of weatherstripping is an adhesive-backed foam tape that is easy to apply on your own. It will eventually wear down or peel off, allowing air to penetrate your home, so be sure to check it regularly to prevent this. More permanent solutions such as nail-on weatherstripping are also available.
Get Help From Handyman Connection
For help locating and stopping air leaks in your home, count on the local handyman services of Handyman Connection. Contact us at 1-800-88-HANDY, and we’ll send out a knowledgeable, experienced craftsman who will make sure your home is warm and snug this upcoming winter.