Air Sealing Basics

air sealing

While it’s well-known that homes require insulation to mitigate heat loss through walls, ceilings and floors, the concept of air sealing is often less understood. Yet, the Green Building Advisor states that, “one third of the energy you pay for probably leaks through holes in your house.”

Air leaks occur when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. In addition to wasting energy, air leaks may contribute to moisture problems, and poor indoor air quality (U.S. Department of Energy, 1999).

Air sealing will save you money on heating and cooling costs, improve system longevity, and increase occupant comfort. It will also help to create a healthier indoor environment. Air sealing doesn’t require much effort, and is generally very cost-productive.

Air Sealing Measures

Some measures you can do yourself include:

  • Caulking around windows and doors
  • Installing foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates
  • Installing weatherstripping around windows and doors (include the garage door)
  • Replacing door bottoms (thresholds) with those that feature pliable gaskets

Other sources of air leaks, such as attic and lighting fixture penetrations, are best addressed by a professional. Before beginning any of these measures, it is a good idea to have a comprehensive energy audit performed, which includes both a visual inspection and thermal imaging scan. An energy audit can detect cold spots, air leaks and intrusion, energy-hogging appliances, and insufficient insulation levels.

Save with Energy Upgrade Rebates

Good news! There are several energy upgrade rebates available that make air sealing substantially more affordable. Eligible homeowners can recoup 75% of their project costs; up to $250 for air sealing and up to $400 for insulation through SRP. To check eligibility requirements, click here. We are an SRP Certified Contractor. APS and Electrical District No. 3 offer similar rebates.

5 Simple Ways to Soundproof Your Home

soundproof

Because we all deserve a little peace and quiet.

Noise – there is no escaping it. Whether it is the result of noisy neighbors above you, music blaring, an airplane passing overhead or honking cars outside, there is nothing more irritating to the senses than unwanted noise. Unwanted noise that can have far reaching consequences according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In fact, any unwanted noise that our ears haven’t been trained to filter out can mess with our sleep, add to our stress, infringe on our privacy, and generally compromise our quality of life. Fortunately, there are a number of soundproofing initiatives you can take alleviate the problem, which don’t require you to go through the expense of remodeling your home.

Here are 5 simple ways to soundproof your home:

#1. Add Insulation

Adding insulation is one of the most effective ways to keep unwanted noise out. Good candidates for additional insulation include the ceilings, walls and attic. Blown-in cellulose is an effective sound insulator. Made from recycled paper or denim, it contains no VOCs, is fire-resistant and environmentally friendly, too. Rigid foam board insulation is another good choice.

#2. Upgrade Your Windows

In terms of blocking sound, the windows in your home probably aren’t cutting it; especially if you’re still rocking single pane glass. Your monthly heating and cooling costs may also be higher than they should be. Replacing old, inefficient windows with double pane offers much more in the way of energy efficiency and noise reduction, without paying a premium for triple pane windows.

#3. Apply Weatherstripping

There are many low-cost ways to soundproof your home. One of the easiest: weatherstripping each window and door in your home. Weatherstrip all points where sash meets jambs, headers and sills, using adhesive-backed high-density foam tape. Fill tiny cracks or gaps with an acoustical caulk sealant. Replacing hollow-core entry doors with solid-core will also help quiet outside noise.

#4. Hang Sound-absorbing Curtains

The same materials used to decorate your home can help absorb a great deal of sound, as well as stop the transmission of outdoor sounds, and keep the sun out of your rooms. Look for tightly-woven, heavy materials such as velvets, embroidered brocade and wools or blackout curtains with built-in liners. To maximize the sound reduction, make sure they cover the wall above and below your window too.

#5. Try – Duct Wrap

Your plumbing also contributes to noise. Water running through pipes is unavoidable, but by insulating those pipes, you can cut associated sounds in half. The same is true for air ducts. Apply duct wrap to all joints before wrapping them with insulation. Use foil-backed insulation with a minimum R-value (thermal resistance rating) of 6. You can also apply this combo to your home’s water heater.

Remedies for Drafty Windows

Old Window

Drafty windows can account for more than 30 percent of an average home’s heating losses no matter how old or new they are!   Sealing air leaks, repairing broken windows and also investing in better insulation can be some solutions you might want to try to fix this problem.

Weatherstripping InstallationAnother possible solution, if your current windows are in good shape, or if you’re renting your home, is installing some storm windows.  “Low-e” or low emissivity windows can increase energy efficiency and indoor comfort at about twenty five percent of the cost of replacing the whole window.   A storm window that is not low-e can still help you save energy and money, but using low-e windows is much more cost effective.  They pay for themselves in an average of two to four years.  They can save you 12-33 percent on your energy bills over the course of a year.  Utility companies may even offer incentives to install them in your home!

The best overall, long term solution to the problem of drafty windows is to install energy Caulking  a Windowefficient replacement windows.  If the cost of this option is too prohibitive for you, don’t fear, there are a few other less costly options you can try.  Caulking and weatherstripping are two of the more inexpensive methods of correcting drafty windows.  Thermal draperies can also be used, but keep in mind that if your windows are drafty, draperies will not correct that issue.

Insulating window panels are one more option.  These are made of anWindow Film insulating material that is encased in a wood or metal frame that attaches to the interior side of the window frame with magnets or Velcro.  These types of panels completely obstruct the view from the windows that they cover.  Another effective option to consider is window film.  While window film does not obstruct your view, it does prohibit you from opening the window until you remove the film.

If you have any questions about how to correct drafty windows in your home, call Banker Insulation at (877) 708-7815, or visit them on the web by clicking here.

 

Sources:

Old Window Photo: (http://bit.ly/1g3CWc4)

Window Film Photo: (http://bit.ly/1aRXzbf)

Weatherstripping Photo: (http://bit.ly/1bSHBMo)

Caulking Photo: (http://bit.ly/1fXcq1G)