In Savannah, we rely most heavily upon our air conditioners to stay cool at this time of year. Unfortunately, summer brings with it some shockingly high energy costs, but you don’t have to take it. There’s no need to trade so much of your household budget for summertime comfort if you’re willing to take steps to seal and insulate the home envelope. In return for a few simple home improvements, you can keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket and do your part to fight global warming, too.
Your family will feel good in more ways than one if you seal the drafts in your home that are letting precious conditioned air out. Home sealing and insulation also help keep the hot air out so your cooling system needn’t work so hard. You’ll be surprised at the saving on your next energy bill if you follow a few helpful tips from your local HVAC contractor.
Finding Air Leaks: Check These Common Areas
This part of your home cool-down can be challenging if your home is on the older side. An HVAC contractor can use specialized equipment to find air leakage you might never locate by yourself, like within your duct system or crawl space.
Start looking for leaks, cracks and drafty spots here:
- Attic floor, knee walls and entrance hatches
- Holes where plumbing pipes or electrical wiring penetrates, like often overlooked openings in ceilings, walls and through the floor
- Electrical outlets
- Fireplace dampers
- The area surrounding the chimney where it goes through the wall and ceiling to outdoors
- Wall areas with missing plaster
- Design features like a dropped ceiling or recessed lighting
- Door and window frames
- Along baseboards
- The duct system should be inspected, sealed and insulated
What Can You Use to Effectively Seal and Insulate the Home Envelope?
- Minor cracks can be sealed with caulk if under 1/4-inch wide.
- Foam sealant works better for larger cracks and holes because it expands to fill difficult-to-access, deep and irregularly shaped areas.
- Add or replace the weatherstripping around doors if you feel a draft.
- Foam backed rod can help to fill for the largest, deepest cracks. Use caulk over the top if needed.
- To deal with cracks and openings in high-heat areas such as the flue, install silicone sheet made to withstand high temperatures or use metal flashing.
- Rigid foam insulation works well to seal off the attic hatch or other large openings.
Insulating Your Home to Stay Cool in the Savannah Area
Once you’ve completed the air sealing project, you’re ready for insulation. Do things in this order so that air leaks don’t blow through and defeat the insulation. Differing R-values are recommended for different areas of the home, and it varies with the climate you live in. To learn the specific recommended values for our humid part of the country, try this R-value calculator. Just choose our Chatham County, GA, area in the drop-down menu fields.
Make the Attic, Basement and Ductwork a Priority for Insulation and Sealing
When you seal and insulate the home envelope, the attic may be the simplest and most effective spot to add insulation. Use unfaced fiberglass batts or loose fill, sticking to the manufacturer’s installation guidelines to get the best result.
In basements, try rigid foam board insulation installed up against the walls. Don’t use cellulose or fiberglass batts, which can be ruined by humidity and moisture. Interior vapor barriers aren’t needed because they can trap moist air in the basement area.
Your ductwork is often a major culprit causing energy loss in your house, but it’s the most difficult to seal. You may have large leaks in these hidden areas. To save the most on energy bills, have the ducts inspected for leakage and professionally sealed to dramatically improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Ensure Proper Home Ventilation for Safety and Comfort
After home sealing, indoor air circulation and quality can be easily checked by a heating and cooling contractor. Ask the tech to inspect the furnace and combustion appliances, such as the clothes dryer, for proper venting.
For more information about how to seal and insulate the home envelope, please contact Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning.
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