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Air Sealing Tips to Prep Your Home for the Winter

Valerie Johannsen People & Brand Manager

Winter is fast approaching, and it’s never a bad idea to prepare for weather before it shows. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can improve home insulation to keep heat (or even cold during the summer) inside your home.

Places to Check

The first thing to do is inspect the more common places where leaks occur. A visual inspection for any cracks or gaps will reveal the most obvious faults and flaws.  Examine any existing insulation, sealant, or weather strips for degradation and wear. You can also use a smoke stick to identify moving air within a room, which will more easily highlight leaks.

  • Attic – Inspect around downlights, ceiling fixtures, and vent pipes.  Damage or cracks around ceiling joins or in the corners where walls connect can also affect insulation.  You should also make sure that you have roughly 12 inches of insulation lining the floor of your attic to prevent heat transfer between your home and the attic. This will keep your house cool in the summer and prevent ice dams from forming in the winter.
  • Basement – As with the attic, inspecting where walls meet the floor is ideal.  You should also inspect any grates or vents leading into or out of the basement for extra leaks.  Crawlspaces, appliance outlets, or sump pump lines can also develop cracks or leaks to the outside.
  • Windows and Doors – Replace any damaged weather-stripping around doors and add weatherproof strips to current gaps. Seal around windows and switch to double-paned glass.
  • Garage – We often forget to check the garage for insulation issues but you shouldn’t. Everything you would inspect inside your home (doors, windows, vents) should be checked here as well.  Make sure entrances into the attic are properly sealed as well.
  • Utility Entry Points (chimney, vents, cables) – Whether it’s the heat vent for a dryer or the chimney in your living room, most rooms have some space that’s connected to the outside. Inspect any above-ground cable or pipe entry points for lost insulation.

Weatherproofing

Once you’ve identified where the issues are, it’s time to correct them.  Depending on the type of leak, you have a few options for resolving it. Silicone caulking, weatherstrips, and expanding foam are all fairly inexpensive methods of insulation.

  • Caulk – A quick fix for small gaps or cracks. Only use this on stationary objects with very little flexing room.  Don’t’ try to cover gaps that exceed ¼ of an inch.
  • Weatherstrips – Perfect for non-stationary objects.  Weatherstrips are often used to seal off doors and windows when they aren’t capable of forming a full seal by themselves.
  • Expanding Foam – Wider gaps require expanding foam. When a simple caulking won’t work, foam fills the gap.  Just be cautious of how you apply the foam.  In the wrong place, it can become an eyesore if it becomes too visible.

Professional Services

The last step (or the first one depending on how much time you have) is to call a professional for an inspection.  Professional technicians have tools, resources, and training that’s not common for the every-day homeowner. Our techs at Service Legends, for instance, know exactly what to look for.  We can even inspect the ductwork within your home for additional air leaks, then fix them before we leave.


Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

At Service Legends, we take pride in heating and cooling Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Our HVAC services include furnace and air conditioner installation, repairs, maintenance, and tune-ups. Our lineup of Indoor Air Quality solutions includes whole-home humidifiers, air purifiers, and air filtration systems. We can even help with HVAC financing.

Call 515-657-6634 to contact our Home Comfort Heroes today. We’re standing by 24/7.

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