10 Tips to Seal Air Leaks and Stop Energy Loss 31

The average home is far from airtight, and never is this more apparent than during the cold winter months. Air can leak in and out of your home in a number of places, reducing energy efficiency and potentially adding a significant sum to your heating bills. The cost of air leaks can add up to as much as $300 dollars over the course of a year, considerably more than it would cost to find and fix the problem areas.

  • The first step is to test your home and see if you have any leaks. Carefully hold a stick of burning incense or a smoke pen near potentially leaky spots. This works best on a windy day. If the smoke travels sideways, you’ve found a leak. Common leak locations include windows, doors, electric outlets, plumbing fixtures, electrical boxes, attic hatches and ceiling fixtures.

  • Use caulk or weather stripping to seal leaks around doors and windows.

  • For larger gaps around windows, baseboards and other areas, use hardening spray foam as a sealant.

  • Install foam gaskets behind switch plates and wall outlets.

  • Replace single-pane windows with more efficient double-pane windows, or cover the existing windows with storm windows.

  • Seal holes where plumbing, wiring or ducts enter your home with caulk or spray foam.

  • Inspect your ceiling paint, carpets and insulation for dirty spots and mold, which may indicate a leak in ceiling and wall joists. These can usually be sealed with caulk.

  • Use a fire-resistant sealing material like sheet rock or furnace cement caulk to seal gaps around chimneys and furnace vents.

  • Keep the flue damper in your fireplace tightly closed when not in use.

  • Cover your kitchen exhaust fan when not in use, and check around the edges for additional leaks.

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