Home air sealing is one of the most effective ways to improve household comfort and efficiency in Greater Cleveland. Our cold winters and hot summers can contribute to significant energy waste as your warmed or cooled air escapes through gaps and cracks throughout your home. Let’s take a look at some common spots through which conditioned air escapes from homes — and how to go about home air sealing.
The attic is a major source of energy loss for many households. It may have so many leaks that it behaves like a chimney, sucking conditioned air up through the structure. The “chimney effect” causes your heating and cooling system to overwork, and it adds to your utility bills. The number of leaks, the presence of insulation, and the need for different sealing materials (caulk, heat resistant caulk, flashing, rigid insulation) can make the attic one of the more difficult areas for home air sealing.
- Unsealed recessed lights are often big offenders as they act like "mini-smokestacks" between the house and the unconditioned attic space.
- Start with the big leaks first. Look for open areas between studs, under the eaves and anywhere there’s a “dropped” ceiling. Those major leaks can be sealed with rigid insulation or expanding spray foam.
- Leaks around penetrations from the ceiling through the attic floor can be sealed with caulk.
- The attic hatch should be sealed with weather stripping or an insulated cap to stop major air leaks to the attic.
Weather stripping can be applied to doors and windows to stop the worst of the leaks in your building’s shell. Also look for leaks around vents and anywhere else there’s a penetration of the wall. Look for gaps around electric wiring, pipes or other fixtures; these can be sealed with caulk.
Basement home air sealing is simplest in an unfinished basement. Use caulk around the joists and around the upper perimeter, where the walls meet the ceiling. Take special care around bay windows or other protrusions from the building’s shell. Again, penetrations from the basement ceiling to the floor above can be a source of energy loss and can be sealed with caulk and insulation.
The technicians at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling would be glad to assess your home's energy efficiency, identifying sources of waste and providing solutions. Contact us today.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.