The energy efficiency needs of homeowners in the Conroe-Montgomery County area are not limited to the hot summer months. Improving your home’s sealing and insulation can reduce your energy costs and improve indoor air comfort year round.
Save up to 20 percent of your home’s energy costs by doing the following:
Finding and Sealing Air Leaks
Air leakage accounts for much of a home’s energy inefficiency. While many leaks can be found by homeowners feeling drafts, it’s important to perform a visual inspection as well. For a comprehensive search for air leaks, hire an HVAC professional to undertake an energy audit of your home. He likely will inspect these common areas for air leaks:
- Areas where pipes come through walls and ceilings
- Around chimneys where they exit insulated ceilings or exterior walls
- Near fireplace dampers
- Attic access hatches
- Walls with missing plaster
- Around electrical plates including switches and outlets
- Areas where wire comes through walls, ceilings or floors
- Dropped ceilings, particularly above cabinets and bathtubs
- Around baseboard, wall and door moldings
- Around air vents and registers
It’s good practice to inspect the home’s interior and exterior to ensure all leaks are found.
Sealing Air Leaks
Air sealing and insulation of certain types will stop unwanted airflow, increases efficiency, and decreases wear and tear on your HVAC system. For best results, be sure to select the right material to seal gaps and holes in your home:
- Caulk – Caulk should be used to fill gaps that are less than a quarter-inch wide. The material is relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and flexible enough to work in tight spaces.
- Expanding Foam Sealant – Ideal for larger gaps between a quarter inch and three inches wide, expanding spray foam can be used in spaces that are too wide for caulk. Expanding foam sealant should not be used in areas that receive direct sunlight or moisture.
- Rigid Foam Insulation – Rigid foam insulation is ideal for sealing large gaps such as those commonly seen around plumbing and attic hatches. Fiberglass insulation may also be used for this purpose. However, fiberglass is permeable to air, so it must be wrapped in plastic in order to stop an air leak.
- Backer Rod – Backer rod can be used in connection with caulk or expanding foam sealant in order to provide backing in large gaps.
- Weatherstripping – Weatherstripping should be used around movable parts of doors and windows to stop air leaks. Typically, you’ll see weatherstripping used between a door jam and the door, for instance.
Insulation serves a dual purpose, keeping heat out of your home in the summer and heat inside the home in the winter. Its main purpose is to stop the transfer of heat energy rather than air. Typically, insulation is installed at the time a home is built. If your home has little or no insulation, contact an HVAC professional. For homes with insulation, there are two main areas where the home’s insulation can be improved:
- Attic – Installing insulation in an attic typically has the largest return on investment for sealing and insulation. Homeowners can visually inspect attics to determine the specific need for insulation. If the existing insulation in the attic is below the top of the floor joists, additional insulation is needed. Typically, 12 to 15 inches of insulation is sufficient to increase energy efficiency. Insulation can be installed by simply laying it loosely over the existing insulation. Be sure to thoroughly review the installation instructions as insulation that is not properly installed will not provide optimal results.
- Basement – The choice of materials is especially important in your home’s basement. Materials that have the potential to be damaged by moisture should not be installed against basement walls. Avoid using a vapor barrier as this material can result in moisture being trapped in the concrete slab, creating mold and moisture. Before installing insulation in your basement, add rigid foam against the walls. A professional should be consulted if you intend to finish the basement.
For professional assistance with air sealing and insulation in your Texas home, please contact us at Conroe Air today. The HVAC experts at Conroe Air have proudly served Conroe, Montgomery County and the surrounding areas since 1980.