UPDATED 10/24/2017 Have you ever felt cold air coming seeping into your home from windows, doors, or walls? While homeowners feel some of the drafts that drive up winter heating bills, others are less obvious. An energy audit identifies all the areas of energy loss and finds solutions. Air sealing is a low-cost and effective way to reduce air leaks.
Most of us can readily identify some areas where air leakage is occurring—who hasn’t had an under-the-door draft to deal with at one time or another? There are all sorts of common household drafts, and surely you’ve repaired a few of them over the years as a homeowner.
While fixing these drafts improves your comfort, it likely won’t have a huge impact.
An energy audit is a better way to achieve an energy-efficient home. Minnick’s expert energy auditors look at your entire home’s performance, rather than just an air leak under the door.
Minnick’s firmly believes in the Whole-Home Approach to comfort. It looks at how all the systems in your home perform together, rather than as separate units. Even the most efficient HVAC system won’t perform as expected if there are other issues in your home. Every component depends on the other to achieve efficiency.
The audit pinpoints sources of energy loss and provides energy-saving solutions.
Minnick’s can then work with you to correct these issues and help you save money on your monthly energy bills. Air sealing is one of the easiest ways to make your home more energy-efficient.
For a complete and accurate measurement of the amount of air leakage in your home, a qualified Minnick’s auditor will conduct an overall energy assessment which will likely include a blower door test. This test essentially depressurizes your home, revealing the source of cracks and air leaks. Over time, cracks and openings develop in your home. Air sealing reduces leakage.
The auditor will also inspect your home, HVAC equipment, insulation, and ductwork.
In order to fully understand the overall efficiency of your home (or lack thereof), we recommend Minnick’s Healthy Home Energy Audit. It provides a comprehensive test and analysis of obvious and hidden sources of energy loss.
Once you know the areas of your home where you’re losing air and energy, it’s time to seal them off. To achieve the most efficiency, follow the rules of air sealing.
1) There Are Bigger Fish to Fry
First, improve the biggest sources of air loss before moving on to smaller drafts. This approach will make the biggest difference in the shortest amount of time.
Once you address major air leaks, you can focus on lesser issues, like around windows and even outlets.
2) Seal the Medium Air Leaks Second
Get where we are going here? You want to address air leaks in order from largest to smallest.
3) Seal the Small Air Leaks Last
This is when you start to address windows, doors, and outlets.
Of course, an energy audit is the only way to truly know which leaks require the most attention.
Caulking is a common form of air sealing, but there are other tools too like weatherstripping, foam, chimney balloon, and replacing door thresholds.
Air-sealing significantly reduces your heating and cooling costs, immediately creating a more comfortable and healthier indoor environment and improving your home’s overall energy consumption.
Although some people figure they can depend on their home’s air leakage for proper ventilation, this can be a mistake as air leakage cannot be controlled. When the weather is cold or windy, too much air will enter your home, and when it’s warmer, not enough air may enter.
Moisture control is also an issue when there is excessive air leakage as moldy and dusty air enters through the cracks, creating a potential health issue.