How Can I Make My Home More Energy Efficient? – Part 10

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make your home more energy efficient, nor to see that it is definitely worth the effort. Here at GAMA Air we do our best to install and repair heating and cooling systems so that they are as energy efficient as possible. But we also know that without a home that keeps the heat in (or out), an efficient system alone isn’t enough. That’s why we’ve been focusing on this theme for several blog entries. It just takes some time, some common tools, and some common sense. In our previous post we pointed out common air leaks in basements. So now, in our final post in this series, let’s wrap it up by sealing those leaks.

Here’s a simple checklist of materials you’ll need for basement sealing:

  • Silicone or acrylic latex caulk and caulk gun
  • Expanding spray foam

Use caulk for sealing gaps or cracks that are 1/4 inch or less. But for gaps larger than that and up to 3 inches, use spray foam.

Seal along the gap between the sill-plate and the foundation itself. Even though you may not be able to see cracks in the rim joist cavities it is best to seal up the top and bottom of the inside of the cavity. And if you have bay windows or other floor features that extend past the foundation then it is especially important to seal the rim joist since these areas provide greater opportunities for air leakage and heat loss.

We also recommend you seal all penetrations that go through the basement ceiling to the floor above, or go outside. Generally, these are holes for electrical wires, gas pipes, water supply pipes, plumbing drain or vent pipes, and the furnace flue (for venting furnace exhaust). Just a word of caution: If your furnace flue is a metal sleeve then be sure to seal around it using a high-temperature caulk. Run a bead of high-temperature caulk around the pipe sleeve and around the metal frame. If the gap is more than 1/4 inch, then you will have to close the gap by fitting a piece of sheet-metal to the opening in the floor that fits around the flue, and caulk that smaller gap. However if your furnace uses PVC piping for the vent, then just normal caulk will do the job.

And that, as they say, is THAT! If you have been applying the suggestions in this series, then your home will now keep the heat where you want it: inside in the winter, and outside in the summer. Did you miss one of the previous entries in this series? Here’s an index of the preceding nine posts:

  • Part 1 – Locating air leaks in the attic
  • Part 2 – Preparing tools and materials for the attic
  • Part 3 – Sealing the ‘big’ holes in the attic
  • Part 4 – Sealing kneewalls and around furnace flues in the attic
  • Part 5 – Sealing ‘small’ gaps and ductwork in the attic
  • Part 6 – Checking and adding attic insulation
  • Part 7 – Proper attic ventilation
  • Part 8 – Sealing around recessed lighting in the attic
  • Part 9 – Locating air leaks in the basement

Have a question for us? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page and let us know what’s on your mind! We’ll get back to you ASAP.

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