Why You're Losing Money - Air Sealing 101
Air Sealing 101
Sealing air leaks can be a messy job. You'll be crawling around in your attic and basement sticking your hands in places that no human has seen for quite some time. Insects, mice and other pests have probably been there and may have left a mess. Make it easy on yourself and gear up with some old clothes, a dust mask and some work gloves. You may find a pair of knee pads helps out in the attic when you're balancing on the ceiling joists. Or you can take the safe approach and screw down some plywood to walk around on.
Be sure to have all of the tools and supplies you'll need to get the job done. There's nothing worse than crawling in and out of your attic for that one tube of caulk or tool you need. It's best to get everything up there first.
Tools of the Trade
- Lights - Work light, Flash Light, Head Light
- Caulking Gun & tubes of caulk - silicone - 4+ recommended
- Expanding Foam like Great Stuff - 4+ cans - 5/16" clear tubing
- Utility Knife or a snap blade knife
- Rigid Foam board or scraps of drywall
- High temperature caulk for chimneys and metal flues
- Sheet metal for around chimneys and flues
- Tin snips
Air Sealing with Great Stuff - Tips
Using Great Stuff can be easier said than done because the can needs to be held upside down and the little straw trigger that comes with the can is tough to maneuver. To make it easier to reach the tight spots, I jam a 2 foot piece of 5/16" clear tubing onto the end of the hose and duct tape a piece of pvc pipe or wood to the tube. This gives you the ability to guide the tube into the tight spaces where the can won't reach.
One of the nice things about Great Stuff is that it will stick to anything, including you and your clothes. It's hard not to get the stuff on your hands and clothes when your working overhead or crawling around in your attic. Make sure you wear diposable gloves and work clothes. Saftey glasses and a baseball hat come in handy when your working overhead.
Air Sealing Electrical Holes with Great Stuff
Air sealing electrical holes is really easy. Stick the tube down in the hole and squeeze the trigger until the foam comes out of the hole. Swirl the tip around the top of the wire and you're done.
Air Sealing Large HolesContractors cut huge holes in your subfloor and attic to run the ductwork up through your walls. These holes are usally to big for Great Stuff alone which just drips all over your floors. A better option for these holes is to cut a piece of scrap plywood to fit around the duct and screw it in to the subfloor with 1" screws. Then squirt the Great Stuff around the remaining gaps.