The need for tightening up your home becomes apparent when the cost of cooling or heating it rises. Identifying the source and/or location of air leaks is the first step toward reducing these costs.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether or not you have a leaking gap around a window is to do a daylight test. If you can see light coming in from the outside, you’ve got a leak that needs to be sealed.
Another easy way to confirm the presence of an air leak is to perform a draft test with a candle. All you have to do is place a candle near the potential leak. If the flames dances around slightly, that’s a sign of a leak. Just be sure to turn off your central heater or air conditioner before you start the test, so the flame is not dancing because of air flowing from your HVAC system.
Having a skilled professional conduct a blower door test is yet another way to determine how airtight your home is and how much heated or cooled air is escaping through the leaks. These professionals can interpret the results of the test and recommend tightening measures for your home.
The results of each of these tests will most likely result in the need for caulking around your windows and elsewhere. By filling in any gaps, you’ll avoid wasting precious dollars from leaking air. Caulking also helps prevent moisture, as well as prevent critters and insects from entering your home.
Before caulking, scrape off any old caulk then wipe down the surface with a damp cloth. Make sure the area is clean and dry prior to caulking.
To caulk around your windows to tighten up your home:
- Choose a flexible type of caulk that is less susceptible to shrinking.
- Select a caulking gun for easy application and fill the gun with the tube of caulk per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Apply the caulk slowly and evenly, making sure it gets into even the narrowest of areas. Tip: Use caulking tape to help ensure the caulk is applied in a straight line.
- Smooth the caulk as soon as it is applied, if you care about its appearance. Tip: Use the back of a spoon or a finger dipped in water for a smooth finish. Don’t try to smooth the caulk as it is drying, since this creates cracks.
Now that your gaps are sealed, you can relax and think about what you’re going to do with all the money you’re going to save.
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