It’s like putting frosting on a cake; learn how to seal your windows’ air leaks

window and sealant image

February 28, 2017

Still, with the passage of time, you might need extra motivation to unwrap those caulk and weather stripping packages and get to work. If so, consider:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy says, “If you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home’s envelope (the windows, roof, subfloor, exterior doors and exterior walls), it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year.”
  • Cooling – along with heating and ventilation – probably represents at least 40 percent of your utility bill.
  • The sun’s rays through window glass are responsible for about 20 percent of the load on your air conditioner .

At this point, only one thing could be holding you back, and it’s probably that case of nervous knocks that creeps up on all of us when we’re about to confront a task for the first time. If this is how you feel, have no fear.

If you’ve ever squeezed a tube of frosting to scrawl someone’s name on a cake, you can apply caulk. If you’ve ever sealed an envelope with plastic tape, you can apply weather stripping. And if you’ve ever wrapped a gift (even not particularly well), you can make a quick-fix double-pane window to rescue a decrepit window until you can replace it. Let Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning show you how.

Get ready, get set…and seal

It always helps to read the instructions on caulk and weather stripping before you begin an air sealing project. Then approach one window at a time, cleaning it if it’s dirty or wiping it with a moist cloth if it’s merely dusty. Then follow up with a dry rag to make sure that the caulk and weather stripping stick as they should and to prevent any residue moisture from interfering with a tight seal.

While the window dries completely, collect the tools of the window-sealing trade:

  • Measuring tape
  • Plastic bag (for garbage)
  • Putty knife
  • Rags or paper towels (for cleanup)
  • Scissors

Apply caulk like a pro

  • Ensure that the outdoor temperature is at least 45 degrees and the humidity is low.
  • Hold the caulk gun at an angle, holding it steady with both hands. When the caulk flows right out of the tube and into a crack, you’re on your way. If you make a mistake, simply wipe it up with a paper towel and try again.
  • Squeeze out the caulk in one thick, continuous stream, just like frosting in a tube, rather than in small spurts, which will mar the finished look.
  • If the caulk oozes out of a crack, simply nudge it back in place with a putty knife. If you spill some caulk, wipe it up with a paper towel. Caulk takes a while to dry (check the instructions), so you have time to get it right.

Apply weather stripping like a pro

  • Ensure that the outdoor temperature is at least 20 degrees, which shouldn’t delay you in Jacksonville.
  • Measure the area you wish to seal and cut the weather stripping to size. You will create less waste than if you run it along the window and then cut it.
  • Place the weather-stripping between the sash and the frame so that it doesn’t interfere with the operation of the window.

Create a makeshift double-pane window

Energy-efficient windows will spell the end to air leaks, but their efficiency ratings do not come cheap. Although you will eventually recoup your investment, they can pose a financial stretch, especially if you want to replace a number of windows at once.

Since Charlie’s believes that necessity really is the mother of invention, construct a makeshift double-pane window with sheets of plastic or vinyl. Working with a partner will help; as one person holds the material over a window, the other can secure the material in place with tacking strips, duct tape or weatherproof tape. It’s such a simple solution that you may wonder why you didn’t tackle it sooner, especially because the sheerness of the material is inconspicuous and practically indiscernible under a window treatment.

Once you seal a few windows, you might feel like a pro. And when you get your next few utility bills, you’ll be glad you followed Charlie’s lead and sealed those silent, not deadly, but very costly air leaks.

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  1. Excellent post. I’m facing a few of these issues as well..

  2. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me
    tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

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