Prepare For the Summer Heat By Checking For Air Leaks!
Summertime means a lot of things here in North Carolina: fun on the water; fun in the sun ... and a spike in your monthly electricity bill.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Sure, our neighbors throughout Raleigh, Outer Banks, and beyond know that when summer strikes, it's time to crank up the AC. But even though North Carolina summers and Air Conditioning go hand in hand, there are ways for you to be able to reduce the amount of money you spend each month keeping your home nice and cool.
By reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home, you can cut your energy costs this summer - and enjoy that same savings come winter time.
For those do-it-yourself folks, the two most effective ways to air-seal your home are:
We recommend you use caulk for cracks and openings found in stationary areas of your home such as your door and window frames.
Weatherstripping, on the other hand, is best used to seal components of your home that move, such as doors and windows.
How to detect air leaks
There are some areas of your home where you can likely expect to suffer from air leaks, including under your doors. But to truly seal your home effectively, you need to find those less-than-obvious sources of leakage.
To do that, we strongly recommend you hire a heating and cooling specialist, like the team at Comfort First. We'll perform an energy audit - more specifically a blower door test - which will reveal your home's many leaks.
Our audit and assessment can also help determine if your home needs more insulation.
You can also perform a few visual inspections to identify leak sources. Outside of your home, inspect all areas where two different building materials meet, including:
- Exterior corners
- Water faucets
- Where the foundation and the bottom of exterior brick or siding meet
Inside your home, inspect the following areas for cracks and gaps:
- Door and window frames
- Attic hatches
- Cable TV and phone lines
- Where your dryer vent passes through the wall
- Vents and fans
Tips for sealing air leaks in your North Carolina home
Ready to minimize your energy costs and keep your house cool all summer long? Great! Here are some tips to get started:
- First, as we discussed, you want to test your home for leaks (both professionally and on your own)
- Next, caulk and weatherstrip all your doors and windows that leak air
- After this, caulk and seal the air leaks found where plumbing, ducting, and electrical wiring come through the wall
- We recommend you install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates
- Look for dirty spots on your ceiling and carpet. These spots could indicate air leaks at wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, which you'll want to caulk
- Cover your kitchen exhaust fan when not in use
- Keep your fireplace flue damper closed when not in use
- Seal air leaks around your fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents (use fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock, as well as furnace cement caulk)
Many of these tasks can be performed by a savvy DIY-er, however, in many instances, we find that homeowners in Raleigh and Outer Banks enjoy greater success (and savings) when they turn to the pros for help.
Looking to save money this summer without compromising your comfort? Then turn to Comfort First. We'll help you stop those pesky (and costly) air leaks.