By simply caulking, sealing, and weatherstripping around all your windows, outside doors, or where plumbing, ducting, and electrical wiring penetrate exterior walls, floors or ceilings, you can save 10 to 25 percent of your heating bill.
Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which often indicate holes where air leaks into and out of your house. You can seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.
To stop airflow between walls and floors, Install foam gaskets on all outlets and switches, and use child safety plugs backed with punch-outs to keep the cold air from coming through the sockets. Remember, be careful whenever working around electricity.
Attic doors are a major source of heat loss in many homes. To stop airflow, weatherstrip the edges and insulate the back side of the attic door. Fold-down stairs can be covered with a lightweight box made of rigid insulation.
Bathroom fan fixtures can poke into the attic insulation and create a pathway for air leaks. Caulk around them from below with high-temperature flexible caulk.
Small openings on the exterior of your home can allow for significant energy loss. Caulk around openings for electric, gas, oil and water supply lines, drainage pipes, plumbing for outside spigots, cable TV and telephone cables. Dryer vents, mechanical ventilation system vents and combustion air supply vents for furnaces should also be sealed.
Weatherstrip and caulk all cracks between the wall and the window trim, especially under the window sills. Replace broken glass and putty any loose window panes. Caulk around the moving parts of windows with a strip-away, non-permanent caulk during the winter. This type caulk can be removed easily in the spring.
Plumbing stacks may run inside the walls of your home, from the basement to the attic, with openings at each floor where the pipes branch off. Use the piping runs in the basement to help you locate holes. Plug the bottom and top of the chase with foam caulk or 6ml polyethylene.
Most experts agree that caulking and weather stripping any gaps will pay for itself within one year in energy savings. Caulking and weather stripping will also alleviate drafts and help your home feel warmer when it's cold outside.
Depressurize your home to help detect leaks. On a cool, very windy day, turn off the furnace. Shut all windows and doors. Turn on all fans that blow air outside, such as bathroom fans or stove vents. Then light an incense stick and pass it around the edges of common leak sites. Wherever the smoke is sucked out of or blown into the room, there's a draft.