When you heat or cool your home, you can be wasting a lot of money if you don’t have a tight home envelope. When there are gaps, holes or little insulation in your home, it’s easy for heat to travel in and out of your home when you don’t want it to. Check out these four ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency by creating a tight home envelope.
Seal Holes in Walls
Small holes in the exterior walls from pipes and cords, such as water pipes, are a common problem in many homes. While small, these holes allow heat to leave your home or cold air to enter. One easy way to fix these tiny holes is with foam spray or expanding polyurethane foam. It’s the same substance as spray foam insulation, but it comes in an easy-to-use can with a long nozzle. Spray a bit around the pipe or cord. The foam will expand to fill the entire space and completely block the hole.
Add Extra Insulation Where Needed
You may not have enough insulation in your home, especially if the structure is older. This allows heat to simply slip right through the walls and attic. Insulation is measured in R-value, and, depending on your climate, each area of the home (walls, floors, attic, etc.) has its own suggested R-value. For example, homes in Montana should have an R-value of R49 to R60 in the attic, but homes in southern Florida should have R30 to R49. You don’t have to totally replace your insulation if you don’t have enough. Simply determine what kind of insulation you have and how much (in inches deep) to determine the R-value, and then add more insulation until you reach the correct amount.
Fix Holes Around Windows and Doors
You may also discover gaps or holes around ill-fitted windows and doors. Typically people apply caulk around windows and doors, which is fine if the window or door fits well, but if you notice larger holes that aren’t being covered with caulk, grab your can of expanding polyurethane foam again. Use it with or instead of caulk to fill in all the larger gaps.
Seal Holes in Heating and Cooling Ducts
One more way you can improve your home’s envelope is to repair holes in the heating and cooling ducts. About 20 to 30 percent of air in ducts escapes through holes, which is why it’s important to have your ducts checked and sealed. A professional is better equipped to check all your ducts, especially those that are hard to reach, but in the meantime, you can handle some of the repairs yourself if you have ducts that are easy to access. Simply use some mastic sealant or metal tape to cover the holes.
If you feel like your heating and cooling costs are flying right out the window, you need to ensure your home has a tight envelope, and these four tips can help. Get started today by contacting a professional to check your heating and cooling ducts.