Caulking is probably the least complicated part of decreasing your energy bill. The idea is simple: cracks and openings in the structure of your house allow colder air from the outside to enter, leaving you with a leaky and uncomfortable home.
The fix seems simple as well: grab a tube of caulk (silicone, foam, rubber), put it in the caulk gun, and caulk away!
“Here’s the catch,” says Dan Hochman, our home energy advisor. “For an average home in Long Island, you need to caulk about half a mile of cracks and openings, or about 2 laps around a typical running track.”
For starters, you would need a lot of caulk to cover those two laps. In a typical job, our contractor partners could use more than a hundred standard 10 oz. tubes of the stuff.
But that is not all, says Dan. “Most of the air leakage happens in places that are difficult to access. For example, the seams between the upper-floor walls and the attic floor are usually the biggest culprit.” To reach those, contractors have to spend quite some time crawling on their knees around the attic with a caulk gun in their hand.
Nevertheless, caulking is one of the most cost-efficient ways to improve your home’s energy use and level of comfort. In the winter, cold air leaks inside, causing drafts and leads to your boiler burning through more fuel. In the summer, hot air flows in, making your air conditioner use more electricity.
Not sealing the leaks, on average, amounts to leaving a 20-inch window open in your house all year long. Therefore, a good caulking job will typically pay off in less than a year by saving you money on your energy bills. Give your home a fix now, and you won’t feel that nasty draft next time a polar vortex comes to town!