How To: Caulk and Seal Your Way to Cheaper Heating and Cooling Costs
Hey Virginia, it’s officially winter and if you haven’t done so already, #ItsAboutTime to prepare your home for chilly weather — and the impact it will have on your energy bills. Air leaks through cracks, gaps and holes around your home — such as those around windows, door frames and other areas — allowing cool air from outside to enter your home and the warm air you’re paying for inside to escape. These air leaks not only lead to notoriously drafty spots in your home, but also force your heating system to work harder to maintain your desired temperature, causing you to spend more money on energy costs.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help reduce the energy loss and save money caused by air leaks.
One such way is the rather simple act of caulking. For about $45 and a few hours of your time, you could save up to 10% on energy costs. To get started, here’s what you’ll need:
- Caulk (latex or silicon-based) – ($2-$10)
- Caulk gun (optional, but recommended)– ($5-$20)
- Putty knife or large flat-edge screw driver – ($3-$15)
- Rag or paper towels (optional, but recommended)
With your basic supplies in hand, follow these steps to prep the drafty areas for caulking:
- Remove old caulk and paint around windows and doors using the putty knife or flat-edge screw driver
- Clean and dry the surface of the area
- Prepare the caulking gun by cutting a ¼ inch off the top of the caulking tube at a 45-degree angle
- Create a small hole at the tip of the tube to create an opening for the caulk
- Place the tube in the caulking gun
- Dampen the rag or paper towels
Now you’re ready to begin! Following these step-by-step instructions:
- Starting from the outer, top-half of the window/door frame at a 45-degree angle, pull the lever and slide the caulk down the window frame slowly for consistency. Try to avoid stopping and starting to maintain one continuous, straight line of caulk.
- Once reaching the end of the frame, press the dampened cloth or paper towels along the line of caulk to force the caulk deeper into the cracks.
- For a clean look, remove excess caulk with the putty knife or screw driver. Tip: caulk dries fast. Remove excess caulk immediately after applying.
- Repeat in all needed areas.
- Allow the caulk up to 24 hours for it to completely dry.
For more tips on how to realize energy savings in your home, check out our At Home tips and chose the best tips and projects for your home and budget. And for the latest updates, news and tips, “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter and Pinterest!