While some air leaks are noticeable enough to create an uncomfortable draft, your home probably has air leaks in hidden places you don’t even know about. To create a tight seal in the home’s outer envelope and improve energy efficiency, you need to find and fix leaks where they are most prominent: in the walls, the attic floor, and the basement ceiling.
Locating air leaks
Your efforts will have the greatest results if you check the most common areas for air leaks and seal them up. These areas include:
- Windows and doors
- Wiring, ductwork, electrical and other penetrations
- Attic hatches
- Plumbing lines
- Open soffits
- Recessed light fixtures
- Basement rim joists
Sealing air leaks in the attic
If you can seal off the attic floor from your home, less heat will escape your living spaces in the winter. Likewise, less heat will penetrate from the attic and into the upper story’s ceiling in the summer. Seal leaks:
- Where the exterior walls meet the attic floor
- Around the attic hatch
- Around floor penetrations
Dirty insulation indicates air leaks. Lift away any dirty insulation and seal small gaps of one-quarter inch or smaller with caulk. For larger openings up to 3 inches wide, use expanding spray foam. Cover the entire attic floor with several inches of insulation to finish the job.
Sealing air leaks in the basement
The outer edges of the basement ceiling represent the place where the foundation meets the home’s wood framing. There are plenty of opportunities for leaks here. To stop basement air leaks, seal the following areas:
- Along the top of the basement wall where the framing touches the foundation cement
- At the bottom and top of the rim joist
- Around vents, wires, and pipes that pass through the outer wall
The same materials used to seal air leaks in the attic — spray foam and caulk — can be used in the basement as well.
For more expert advice on sealing air leaks and creating a more energy-efficient home, please contact T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating today. We have proudly served Long Island customers since 1934.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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