When the temperatures get hot, your energy bills go up. At Home Comfort Experts, our team wants to help you save money this summer by keeping hot air from leaking into your Indiana or Michigan home. Even if you need a new air conditioner installed, here are some tips to lower your cooling bills.
Seal Your Home
Your home has cracks and openings that allow air to sneak in. You need to find these cracks and close them up with caulk or weatherstripping. These items are inexpensive, but will start saving you money right away. Sealing these small leaks is one action that offers a quick return on your investment, often one year or less. Here is a map courtesy of Energy.gov that shows where to look for leaks in your home.
Caulk is typically used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames. The best time to apply caulk is during dry weather when the outdoor temperature is above 45°F (7.2°C). Low humidity is important during application to prevent cracks from swelling with moisture. Warm temperatures are also necessary so the caulk will set properly and adhere to the surfaces. If you’ve never caulked before, here are some handy tips:
- For good adhesion, clean all areas to be caulked.
- Remove any old caulk and paint.
- Make sure the area is dry so you don’t seal in moisture.
- Apply caulk to all joints in a window frame and the joint between the frame and the wall.
- Hold the gun at a consistent angle. Forty-five degrees is best for getting deep into the crack. The caulk should immediately be forced into the crack as it comes out of the tube.
- Caulk in one straight continuous stream, if possible. Avoid stops and starts.
- Send caulk to the bottom of an opening to avoid bubbles or air pockets.
- Make sure the caulk sticks to both sides of a crack or seam.
- Release the trigger before pulling the gun away to avoid applying too much caulking compound. A caulking gun with an automatic release makes this much easier.
- If caulk oozes out of a crack, use a putty knife to push it back in.
- Don’t skimp. If the caulk shrinks, re-apply it to form a smooth bead that will seal the crack completely.
Weatherstripping is also affordable and fairly easy to install. First, you need to determine how much weatherstripping you will need. Add the perimeters of all windows and doors you want to seal, then add 5% to 10% to cover any waste. Also consider that weatherstripping comes in varying depths and widths. Here are a few basic tips:
- Make sure your surface is clean and dry.
- The surface temperatures should be above 20°F.
- This is elementary, but measure the area to be weatherstripped twice before making a cut.
- Apply weatherstripping snugly against both surfaces. (The material should compress when the window or door is shut.)
- Choose the appropriate door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors.
- Weatherstrip the entire door jamb.
- Apply one continuous strip along each side.
- Make sure the weatherstripping meets tightly at the corners.
- Use a thickness that causes the weatherstripping to press tightly between the door and the door jamb when the door closes without making it difficult to shut.
- For air sealing windows, apply weatherstripping between the sash and the frame. (The weatherstripping shouldn’t interfere with the operation of the window.)
If you need help identifying where the leaks are in your home, call the professionals at Home Comfort Experts. We can help you identify problem areas and also check your ductwork to make sure it is set up right to get you maximum comfort. Let the Home Comfort Experts air conditioner pros help you stay cool this summer.