What are you doing this Saturday? Want to save some cash? Almost every house leaks heat in the basement, where the foundation meets the side walls and in the attic, where the roof meets the wall frame. This is under the floor and visible from your basement or in the sides of your attic, where it meets the roof. This is wasteful as it sends cold air under your floors and above your ceilings.
What are you doing this Saturday? Want to save some cash? Almost every house leaks heat in the basement, where the foundation meets the side walls and in the attic, where the roof meets the wall frame. This is under the floor and visible from your basement or in the sides of your attic, where it meets the roof.
Take a walk around with the lights off. Chances are you’ll see cracks of daylight in a few or many places.
This is wasteful as it sends cold air under your floors and above your ceilings. It’s why even your internal rooms can be chilly. You might be losing 30 percent to 50 percent or more of your heat to these leaks, according to Dow Corp.
Openings to the outside invite insects and rodents to invade your house, causing many expensive problems. The bugs come in seeking water and warmth.
These cracks are why a house may still feel cold (or hot) even though the walls are insulated. Other signs are drafty areas and uneven heating. Taking the extra step of air sealing is a necessity.
There is some thought against sealing an attic. Attics need ventilation to release humidity. If the attic is too warm, it may become wet and then moldy. This is why attics often include roof vents. Sellers of insulating materials recommend sealing attic cracks.
If icicles form on your spouting, this can be a result of warm air flowing from cracks in your attic. Ice dams are a tip-off to energy loss and can result in severe damage to walls.
The fix is simple and cheap, about $5 to $10. Buy a tube of caulk or, better, a can of expandable insulation foam. Put on some latex gloves and get sealing.
Be sure to check where utilities enter the walls. These probably were sealed when installed but may need a second application. Leaks around casement windows are common.
Before you seal, wipe the dirt from the crack. Dirt can break the seal and cause leaks.
The expandable foam is best and needs no caulking gun. It sprays from the can in a flexible tube and expands for a tight seal on contact. Foam dries quickly and some is guaranteed for 15 years or longer.
If your seal is visible to the public, you may want to caulk it for a nicer finish. Foam expands to a bumpy bead. Caulk may be smoothed to a neat line.
The return on investment here is one of the highest. Air sealing is one of those jobs you do once and reap the benefits for many years. With the price of heating showing no mercy, this is one you cannot ignore.
Jim Hillibish writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.