Wondering how to save money on cooling costs during the hot season in Lexington? No matter how efficient your air conditioning system, you could be losing cold air through air leaks in your home. Taking small actions to improve efficiency in the most leak-prone areas of your home can bring costs down and add indoor air quality benefits for seasons to come.
Where do air leaks exist? They are gaps between the different pieces that make up the walls of your home. Not only does cool air move out through them in the summer, but moisture can seep in. Caulking and weather-stripping are the two most common inexpensive tools for closing the gaps, along with spray foam insulation and polyethylene sheeting. Here are some ideas for addressing leaks in different areas of the house:
Basement and Crawl Space Leaks
A poorly sealed basement or crawl space can cause uneven temperatures throughout the house. In addition, leaks here can draw in mice and insects like termites. Moisture is often an issue here as well.
In the basement, the sill plate should be insulated with a hardening foam and caulked. Entry points for utility pipes, wires, and vents are also likely places for leaks that should be caulked.
Crawl spaces will usually benefit from using polyethylene sheeting to create a vapor barrier underneath the house. Foam spray can be used to keep the sheeting in place.
The sun shining on the roof of a house can bring summer temperatures in an inefficient attic to over 120 degrees. That heat can radiate into other rooms, increasing the time your air conditioner has to run to cool the space.
A good rule of thumb is to use caulking for gaps of less than a quarter inch, and spray foam insulation for gaps of up to 3 inches.
Once the leaks are addressed, increase energy efficiency by adding a layer of R-25 to R-38 insulation to the 3 or 4 inches you already have.
Doors, windows, walls and floors can also be prone to air leaks. Consider a home energy audit or do a thorough inspection yourself to find spots that need attention. Follow the caulking/foam insulation guidelines above to fill them, and weather-stripping for the mobile parts of windows and doors.
For all of your HVAC questions, call the professionals at Climate Control of Lexington. We are here to help you make your home more energy efficient.