According to the Department of Energy, you can save 5 to 30% on your home energy bill just by fixing gaps and cracks where air enters or leaves your house. The first step is a visual inspection. Indoors, on a windy day, light a stick of incense and hold it around windows, doors, and other areas where air can get in or out. If the incense travels horizontally, you know you’ve got a problem.
For more accurate results, hire a pro to conduct a home-energy assessment that includes a blower door test. This uses a door-sized fan to pull air out of your house, which will reveal air leaks that aren’t easy to find.
Outside look for gaps and cracks in your home’s foundation, siding, and in spots where two building materials meet-such as siding and a brick chimney. These spots often develop gaps as your house settles with age and because materials expand and contract. Once you’ve identified where your house is leaking air, use this guide to fix the leaks.
- Exterior Elements: Seal gaps between different materials (like brick and siding) using exterior caulk or a patching compound. Make sure it is for outdoor use and compatible with the materials it is in contact with.
- Attic Hatches: Seal the perimeter of the access panel to your attic with weather stripping. You can also get a draft-blocking stair cover if you have pull-down attic stairs. For walk-up attics, use weather stripping and a door.
3. Electrical Outlets: Remove cover plates and secure foam gaskets onto their backsides before reattaching them.
4. Windows and Doors: Add caulk or weather stripping around windows and doors. A door sweep will create a weatherproof seal between the door and threshold.