How to Go About Air Sealing Your New Home
If you’ve just purchased a house, chances are your days are filled with excitement for what’s to come. You’ve got to plan the move, figure out where the kids will go to school, pack up your old home and then try to line everything up so you can pay for it all. It’s quite a transition, but you might want to consider adding an initial step you may never have thought about. Air sealing your new home can drastically trim your utility bills. This is especially crucial if you’ve bought a classic house that’s perhaps fifty or more years old. In all that time the foundation settles, the walls crack and move, the seals around the windows and doors soften and basically the whole place starts breathing with every breeze and gust of wind. If you’re interested in trimming a huge percentage off of your electric bills, here’s how you can go about air sealing your new home.
First of all, you may want to tackle an insulation upgrade before you even get to the air sealing. If you’re spending the time and money required to do this job, you might as well do it right. Older homes have gaps in the walls that more modern homes often fill with insulation. You can do the same, thereby cutting down on the air pockets that drain your utility efficiency. You don’t have to rip the walls down to solve the problem. Instead, hire a firm to come in and install cellulose insulation between the walls. It can be blown into place through a small hole, and will keep air from filtering through the walls. Just this step alone could save you 10% on your future electric bills.
Now it’s time to address the air sealing job. Before you start ripping down your home’s siding, have an energy auditor come in and look the place over top to bottom. You’ll want to know exactly where the problem areas lie, and which areas you can basically ignore. A home energy audit isn’t expensive, but will seriously help reduce costs throughout the process.
Once you’re ready to tackle an air sealing job, you’ll have to choose your method. When it comes to older homes you’ll probably focus your efforts on the exterior. Start off by having the siding removed. You may find some rotting wood underneath that you’ll need to replace. If you go this route you might also be able to have the cellulose insulation installed from the outside, cutting down on your interior construction costs. After that, create a grid skeleton of 2×3 studs underneath where your new siding will sit. You’ll use a spray foam insulation on top of this skeleton, and the metal will keep it in place. You’ll top that layer off with sheathing, which is pretty standard in new construction. Then you’ll add a layer of house wrap. This is an extra step you could well skip. It’s not cheap to air seal a house, and already you’ll be in much better shape than most. But the house wrap will help your work last longer, so if you plan on sticking around in this spot for a while it’s worth considering. You’ll finish the job with new siding and a paint job, and then you’ll be ready to move in.