How Air Sealing Can Help You Save Money and Improve Comfort

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or an average of 11% on total energy costs) by air sealing their homes and adding insulation to attics, floors above tight spaces, and accessible basement edge beams. Reducing the amount of air entering and leaving your home is a cost-effective way to reduce heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer a quick return on investment, often in a year or less. Putty is generally used for cracks and openings between fixed components of houses, such as around door and window frames, while weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and windows that can be operated.

Most households in the US lack sufficient insulation and have significant air leaks. Sealing air leaks around your home and adding insulation are two of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency and comfort in your home. By tackling both projects, you can maximize your comfort and save up to 10% on your annual energy bills.

What is Air Sealing?

Air sealing is the process of preventing air from entering or leaving a building through cracks or openings in the walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, or other areas. Even if you don't know what exactly air sealing a house is, you've definitely experienced it if a house isn't air-sealed.

Sometimes people think that a draft is a good thing, that it keeps the air moving and that fresh air is filtered around the house; however, this is a mistake. Keep in mind that air sealing alone does not eliminate the need for adequate insulation to reduce heat flow through the building envelope. Air sealing can range from simple solutions that you, as a homeowner, can perform to more complex tasks that require the intervention of a professional. An air-leaking home will allow air to flow through the house, creating a disparity in temperature on different floors.

Benefits of Air Sealing

Air sealing offers numerous benefits for homeowners. It helps reduce energy costs by preventing heated or cooled air from escaping through cracks or openings in the walls or ceilings.

It also helps improve indoor air quality by preventing pollutants from entering the home through these same cracks or openings. Additionally, it helps reduce noise pollution by blocking sound from entering or leaving the home. Excellent article, one thing that seems to be overlooked is the carbon incorporated in the air seal, which is much lower than other energy saving measures depending on the materials used.

How to Air Seal Your Home

It's essential to check outlets, wall- or window-mounted air conditioners, baseboards, attic hatches, and other visible areas where air may leak. Some air sealing measures, such as caulking and weatherstripping, can be installed as DIY projects, but the best way to do many sealing projects is to have them carried out by a professional.

If you are planning a comprehensive home renovation that includes some works, review some of the techniques used to seal the air in the construction of new houses and consider carrying out an energy assessment of the home to identify all the opportunities to save energy and money in your home. The air sealing process can be carried out by the owner himself or by a professional, and depends largely on the severity of the air leak. So actually, whatever the number of air changes per hour, divide it by 5 to get an idea of the actual amount of air leak under the worst conditions. In basic terms, air sealing of a house minimizes the chance of unwanted air entering the house by identifying leak points.

There were several areas on or near the roof with fairly significant air leaks that needed to be sealed. Air sealing reduces drafts and heat loss by eliminating air leaks in the building around the chimney, pipe penetrations, and recessed lights. It was a lot of fun, but it also took a lot of different air sealing projects to make a big dent in the tightness of the building envelope. When it's hotter and less windy, there may not be enough air coming in, which can result in poor indoor air quality.

Maartje van den Visser
Maartje van den Visser

Lifelong tv aficionado. Hipster-friendly web advocate. Lifelong zombie fan. Amateur beer evangelist. Typical coffee lover.