Sealing the Deal

As mentioned in this post, energy efficiency is one of our main goals for the new abode. Sure, a swanky looking space is great, but even better is a swanky house that cost you less dollar bills each month. More money to put toward home renovations, as far as I see it! 🙂 We got a steal of a deal on a home energy audit, and through participation in the program we were also able to qualify for some pretty sweet rebates. Looks like we will be moving forward with a new furnace for the home, and although we would have preferred to wait until the current one keels off to replace it, the fact that they are going to double our rebate (taking almost $1,000 off the price!) compelled us to pull the trigger a wee bit sooner to snag a good deal on a really energy efficient unit.

During the audit, the guys came through with a thermal camera, which helped us to see where we have leaks in the house. In the shots below, where it’s purple, that’s bad. Like winter seeping into your house through all your cracks bad. Crack(s) are whack – we all know that.

Energy Efficiency Drafty
Infared Camera Images

So, Jay did what any enthused energy efficient loving husband would do. He gleefully ran to his caulk gun and started sealing away! I was like giddy with excitement the entire time. On one hand, you can’t believe that you have had the gaping holes existing for as long as they did, I mean, I was paying to keep the outdoor kitties warm for a bit there. No wonder they hang out around the house so much…

Check out this beast of a gap. Apparently when the last owner installed this side door, they just forgot to seal this baby. So we had a solid inch of a crack that was letting in a hella of a lot of winter. I literally could not believe it when I stood next to the door – so drafty!

Energy Efficiency, Door Leak
Leak in trim around door

And after Jay came through with the trusty caulk gun, this area was looking a lot better! I can’t believe the difference in comfort in our Dining Room already. It even looks better aesthetically!

Energy Efficiency, Caulked Door Trim
Caulked Door Trim

Another spot I did not realize (at all) to check for, is under the baseboards. Most of our boards were sealed pretty well, but there were a few that were really gappy, which leads to leaks. Here is a before picture of some of the trim in our living room. As you can see, there is a noticeable amount of air space there. If you put your hand along the bottom, you could definitely feel the cold air pressing through.

Energy Efficiency Caulking Trim
Leaking Baseboard Trim

And here it is after, looking mighty improved!

Energy Efficiency Caulked Trim
Caulked Trim

So if you’re reading this and saying – hot damn! – I need to seal up my old house, too! I would start with the following steps

  1. Anywhere your windows/door/trim meet the big bad outside world, take your hand along the seam and see if you feel any cold air coming through
  2. If you do, grab a caulk gun a get a going! Caulk generally costs around $5, and you can get a lot of space done with (1) caulk gun. Last time I checked, my utility bills were considerably more than $5, so I consider it money well spent. Plus your house feels so. much. better (sitting in the previously drafty dining room right now typing)
  3. Another space to check for are external wall light outlets. Air can actually seep through there as well.
  4. Our basement joists also had some air seeping out. Our contractor suggested this kit (for $329), which will set us back considerably less than the price quoted to have this professionally done ($2,000+)
  5. AND – If you want to shell out $100-$250, start with a comprehensive energy audit. Ours was only $100, which we got back to apply toward the purchase of anything recommended in the audit. This investment was SO worth it to us, because we really wanted to see everything that needs to be done long term to make this house as energy efficient as possible. One major perk to doing this route is that they will come through and do a blower door test, where all of the air gaps in your house are amplified for them to really discern the areas that need to be tackled. During the blower door test, they ran around with the infrared camera, which is where the thermal images came from.

We are feeling more energy efficient already. And a bit richer, cause ya know, it’s always best to spend your hard earned dollar bills heating your house, and not your neighbors ambient air. I feel like my Dad right now – shut the front door! I’m not paying to heat the outside! Well – now I can say with a bit more confidence, that we are indeed not paying to heat the outside. Winning!

5 thoughts on “Sealing the Deal

  1. You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation however I find this topic to be really one thing which I believe I’d by no means understand.
    It kind of feels too complicated and extremely broad for me.

    I’m taking a look forward for your subsequent post, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

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