It doesn’t matter whether your home is a century old, or brand new. Drafts can be a serious issue that can affect how comfortable you and your family are, and how much you are paying on your monthly heating and cooling bills. And, come late fall and winter, stopping drafts in your home can end up being your number one priority, even when it means lining the doors with rolled up towels!
There are other more effective, long term solutions, though. First let’s look at the places in your home where air loss is most common.
Most Common Sources of Air Loss in Homes
- Windows & Doors. Even the newest homes can settle, over time, causing tiny gaps in the frames of doors or windows. Older homes with single window panes or dried up caulking are more likely to allow air to escape.
- Ceilings & Floors. Often, an unfinished basement or a vented attic can be the source of drafts or air loss. Something as simple as replacing existing insulation with spray foam insulation, like Icynene, can make these air leaks a thing of the past.
- Walls. When traditional insulation takes in too much moisture or begins to settle, the tiny gaps that begin to show up can make for some not-so-tiny drafts. In addition, it can be challenging to place traditional insulation in hard-to-reach corners, thus compromising the integrity of your insulation right from the start.
- Ducts. If you aren’t sealing the spots where ducts attach to the walls, you are risking more gaps that will allow air to leak into or out of your home.
- Fans, Vents & Electrical Outlets. Again, these are spots where, if you haven’t properly sealed the area surrounding them, tiny gaps and cracks can create big problems with air loss.
How can you determine where your home has any of these leaks? There are several steps you can take. First, walk around inside your home for a visual inspection. Examine windows and door frames for brittle-looking caulking, or gaps where you can see sunlight. Look at the places mentioned above for cracks or gaps, but also look at the following spots in your home, for potential sources of air leakage:
- attic hatch
- cable and phone line outlets
An energy audit may be the ideal next step, but whether you choose to hire a professional, or do one yourself, will depend greatly on your overall budget. A do-it-yourself energy audit can be accomplished fairly easily, with the right resources (http://energy.gov/energysaver/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits). A professional energy auditor can generally be found through various local and state energy departments. They can provide you with a comprehensive energy audit and help walk you through some of the bigger problem areas as well as how to best address them.
What Happens During an Energy Audit?
A professional audit will generally be very comprehensive. An energy auditor will analyze the behavior of everyone in the home, room usage, and take a look at your utility bills. They will also most likely perform a blower door test, among other pieces of equipment that can be used to measure your home’s energy efficiency. A blower door test is a way to measure the air changes per hour (or ACH) in your home, or how quickly the air in your home gets replaced. As a point of reference, the ACH of a typical home insulated with fiberglass insulation is between 5-7.
One of the wonderful things that Icynene spray foam insulation can do, aside from help with preventing drafts in homes, is to help reduce from 5-7 ACH @ 50 Pa to approximately 1-2 ACH @ 50 Pa. This is due to the superior ability Icynene spray foam has to create an effective air seal, wherever it is applied. Unlike traditional insulation types, which are applied as-is to areas of your home, Icynene expands within seconds of application to nearly 100 times its original volume. This helps it to fill tiny gaps or cracks that may be present, which can lead to drafts in your home.
What results is an air barrier that can help reduce any drafts in your home and allow you and your family to comfortably enjoy time with your family indoors, no matter what the weather is like outside.
Fewer Drafts = Lower Monthly Heating Bills
One of the added benefits of reducing the drafts in your home is that your HVAC unit doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the internal temperature that it’s set to. What’s more, you might even be able to “right size” your HVAC unit. The term rightsizing means reducing something to a size that’s more appropriate for the work it’s doing, resulting in a lower cost. A more efficient HVAC unit for the amount that it’s working (in this case, working less) can help with improving monthly heating and cooling costs.
In the end, drafts in your home are something that can be dealt with in a way that will help save you money and improve your family’s comfort, thanks to Icynene spray foam insulation. You’ll never have to ask yourself, “How can I make my home warmer?” again.
Find a licensed Icynene spray foam insulation contractor in your area to find out more reasons to choose Icynene.