As the days get hotter and the summers become longer, it is increasingly becoming more and more imperative to use the air conditioner to manage the climate inside our homes. The only problem with this is that blasting the air conditioner can be expensive – your energy bills will start to skyrocket. Plus, blasting your air conditioner can further contribute to global warming, thus creating a quandary that is hard to resolve. It’s not like you can install a commercial HVAC system, because that would offer too much cool air. Luckily, the answer lies in how well insulated your home is. Here is how to insulate and air seal your home to keep it cool.
First and foremost, you want to conduct a full energy audit. This requires a top to bottom inspection of your home – you want to look for leaks, drafts, vulnerabilities and areas that have not been insulated yet. You can start your search in the basement of your home – along the foundation wall – you want to feel for any sources of air. Then you want to work your way up to your attic – checking windows along the way. As you find leaks, you want to mark them with color-coded pieces of tape.
Next, you may want to get something called a blower door test. This is a professional energy audit test that will determine how energy efficient your home is. In most cases, you will hire a technician to conduct this test, or someone that has experience using blower machines. Basically, they will hook this system up to the frame of your door – hence the reason why it is called a blower door test – and they will turn the system on. Using a set of metrics, they will determine how much energy leakage your home has.
Once you conduct a full audit, you can start energy sealing and insulating your home. You can start by filling in all the energy leaks with epoxy resin or caulking. In window frames and doors, you can start by filling in the leaks- all you need is a caulking gun from a hardware store or home supply shop. In your foundation, you can seal the leaks and vulnerabilities with epoxy resin. If you have any particularly heavy cracks, you may need to inject cement. When it comes to insulating, you want to start with your attic – you will need to lay down some panels to prevent leakage through your roof. Also, you may want to add some insulation to outlets, vent frames and other applicable areas.
Lastly, if you want to keep cool during some of the more brutal summer days, you will need to blast your air conditioner. If you want to save money and reduce your carbon footprint, you will need to seal and insulate your home. You can start by conducting a full energy audit and then you can move on the sealing and insulation process. In the end, you’ll be glad you went through the effort when you see your first affordable energy bill.