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Sealing Gaps with Exterior Door Weatherstripping

Exterior Door Weatherstripping
Exterior Door Weatherstripping

Call them cracks, gaps, leaks or however you want to see it, but any opening that allows air through the door adds stress to your energy bill. Prevent air leaks by sealing gaps with exterior door weatherstripping. You’ll gain control over the energy usage in your home while trimming the energy expenses off your utility bill.

Do you need weatherstripping?
It doesn’t matter if the crack, gap, or hole is micro-sized or big enough to slip a few magazines through; any air leak takes the comfort out of your home and costs you extra in heating and cooling expenses.

Test for air leaks
If the sunshine outside is spilling into your home through a closed door, you have an air leak situation. Another way you can tell is if rain always finds its way inside your home through doors even when the door is closed. Easily combat this issue by installing exterior door weatherstripping.

Q-lon weatherstripping
Q-lon is an type of weatherstripping that is installed on the top and sides of doors. It is backed with aluminum (metal/steel), vinyl (PVC), or wood and made of polyethylene-clad urethane foam. Available in white and brown colors, q-lon is specifically made to fit different door types:

  • Aluminum – Made for metal doors
  • Wood – Made for wooden doors
  • Vinyl – This type can be used on most home doors

This type of weatherstripping seals up to 1/2″ gaps on standard doors and can be cut to fit smaller doors.

Reasons to seal
Energy Usage/Money Waste
On average, exterior doors are responsible for roughly 11 percent of all energy loss in the home. You close the door hoping to keep out the heat or cold, but all of that air still gets in. This:

  • Causes inconsistent temperatures in the home
  • Raises your energy bill. Every increase/decrease in degree that you turn up/down the AC or heater causes you money.

Block Unwanted Guests
Well, sealing only keeps out the type of guests that can squeeze through a closed door. Bugs and other critters are always on the hunt for ways to enter your home. Installing exterior door weatherstripping leaves one or two less ways for them to invade your home.

Sealing door exteriors is a simple solution to a costly and energy-stealing problem.

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3 Easily Installed Weatherization Supplies for Windows

Weatherization Supplies
Weatherization Supplies

It might be days before Halloween, but already there’s a chill in the air. Prevent that chill from becoming an unwelcome guest in your home by sealing up your windows. Follow these simple steps to install weatherization supplies like rope caulk, V-seal weatherstrip, and Shrink and Seal window kits and you’ll provide an instant sealing benefit to the windows in your home.

Installing Rope Caulk

  1. Clean: For the rope caulk to achieve its maximum level of stickiness, clean up the surface of the area where you’ll install it. Dirt, grease, moisture, and even old pieces of caulk should be cleared up if you want the rope caulk to seal effectively.
  2. Peel: Carefully peel off the top layer of rope caulk “beads.” Separate each bead, or individual cord of rope caulk, according to the width you need.
  3. Press to Seal: Firmly press the caulk into any cracks, gaps, and openings to seal them up.

Bonus use of rope caulk: Aside from being easy to install, rope caulk is easy to clean up, leaves no mess, and it stays durable in any weather condition.

Installing a V-Seal Weatherstrip

  1. Clean: As with many weatherization supplies, you need to clean the area where you’ll install the V-seal weatherstrip. Measure, Then Cut: Measure the length of the window you’re sealing. Then, cut the amount of V-seal needed.
  2. Shape: The V-seal weatherstrip has a seam running down the middle to help you easily create the “V” shape for installation. Just fold the strip vertically right down the marked line.
  3. Peel and Seal: Peel off the the V-seal’s adhesive backing. Press the V-seal into the corner of the window to seal.

Installing a Shrink and Seal Window Kit
Seal your entire window with a Shrink and Seal window kit.

  1. Clean: I really can’t stress enough about the importance of this. Clean the area where you plan to install the Shrink and Seal window kit. It’s also useful to wash the insides of the window since you won’t be able to wash them again until you remove the shrink-film.
  2. Cut Shrink Film: Hold up the shrink-film over the entire window to see how much film you’ll need to seal it off (part of window frame included). Cut the amount desired.
  3. Install two-sided tape: Remove one side of the tape and place it on window sides, top, and bottom. Then, once you’ve installed the tape, remove the the backing from the other side.
  4. Installing shrink-film: It’s easier to work with the shrink film if you start from one corner then work your way around. Gently stretch the film as you apply it to each corner of the tape.
  5. Tighten the film: Put your blow dryer on the highest setting. Standing a few inches away from the window, move your dryer back and forth, up and down, and diagonally across the shrink-film to make it tighter. Don’t keep the dryer on one area for too long because the plastic will melt if too much heat is applied to it.
  6. Cut: If needed, cut away any excess shrink-film.

Each one of these weatherization supplies comes with a different set of instructions, but all will help to properly insulate your home, decrease your energy usage, and save you hundreds (and then some) off your energy bill.

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Using Attic Stair Covers to Reduce Energy Loss at Home

Attic Stair Covers
Attic Stair Covers

Have you ever had to put on a winter jacket while cleaning out your attic, or have you experienced the other extreme and worn only essential clothing items just to avoid getting a heatstroke up there? Inconsistent temperatures in the attic stem from major gaps in insulation, and that often leads to having less control over temperatures in the living space. One of the simplest ways to prevent the environment in your attic from negatively impacting the living area is to invest in attic stair covers, which block air from leaking out of and into your attic.

The 3 Ways to Cover Attic Stairs

Three types of covers that help protect the airflow on attic stairs include Attic Tent, ThermaDome Cover, and McCoy LadderMate. When choosing between these attic stair covers, keep in mind the R-value (the measure of how well it insulates), size, and material the cover is made of and how these factors work with your attic stairs.

Attic Tent

The name is a perfect reflection of its functionality: Attic Tent. Installed above the attic door (on the inside of the attic), it works as a cover, or tent, and is versatile enough to insulate attic doors, folding attic stairs, knee doors, and scuttle holes. Attic Tent is super easy to install and can cut down air transfer to/from your attic by up to 71% .

  • R-Value: 3.2
  • Sizes (measured in inches): 22 x 54 x 7, 22 x 54 x 13, 25 x 54 x13, 30 x 60 x13
  • Material: Made from high tech, fire retardant, cloth-like material

Therma-Dome Cover

Therma-Dome Covers are lightweight lids for folding attic stair doors (they also work on the inside of the attic), and provide strong insulation. More steps and tools are needed to install Therma-Dome than used for Attic Tent, but the extra work also leads to faster results on your energy bills.

  • R-Value: 13
  • Sizes (measured in inches): Inside 27 x 57, and 10.5 in. deep, made to fit all attic stair sizes
  • Material: 1 1/2″ of polyisocyanurate board foam that is sandwiched between laminated foil

McCoy LadderMate

The LadderMate works to insulate the attic ladder door and the opening. The McCoy Laddermate is heavier than the Tent and Dome, but it allows for easier access to the attic via a 30 in. push/pull rod. It takes mere minutes to install this attic cover, and it doesn’t need any additional trim around the opening.

  • R-Value: 10
  • Sizes (measured in inches): 22.5 x 48, 22.5 x 54, 25 x 48, and 25 x 54 (one model will cover all four sizes)
  • Material: 2 in. foam insulation and weatherstrip gasket

Drafty homes are uncomfortable to live in and can be a bigger drag on your finances than you may realize. By installing attic stair covers and properly insulating your home in other open areas, you gain consistent heating/cooling throughout the house while earning a boost in energy savings and reducing energy costs.

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Why and How to Use Rope Caulk at Home

rope caulkWhen you hear the word “putty,” does that bouncy, shapable toy you were always told not to get stuck on the floor come to mind? Hopefully, by the time you are finished reading you’ll have a different perspective of this word. Rope caulk is a putty substance that is less of a mess and more of an advantage around the house. When installed in the right places and at the most opportune time, caulk can relieve the stress on your home’s energy consumption and your energy bills.

Why use it?

Balances home temperature

Have you ever felt like the temperature in your house was more extreme than it was outside? That’s a surefire sign that there might be air leaks throughout your home. Translation? When you turn up the AC or heater, all of that air is blowing out while the outside air is on its way in, causing three obvious problems:

  1. Defeats the purpose of the AC and heater
  2. Causes you unnecessary discomfort in your own home
  3. Raises your energy bill for every increase/decrease of degrees you change the AC or heater

You can easily (and cleanly) solve these problems by sealing air leaks with rope caulk.

Keeps out critters

Summer brings warm weather and longer days, but it’s also the season for bugs to come out and play. If (like me) you prefer for critters to play outside of your home, you should close up all potential areas of entry with caulk.

Great for renters (it’s a nonpermanent change)

For those of you living in a rental property and/or don’t want to make any long-term changes to your house, rope caulk is a non-permanent solution to insulating your home. Even better, the installation is easy, the removal is clean, and the caulk is durable. It comes in a gray or brown color.

Installation: How and when to use it.

How to install rope caulk

  1. First, clean the area where you’ll use the rope caulk to prevent any dirt or grime from making the caulk less sticky and therefor less able to seal properly.
  2. Cut the amount of rope you need.
  3. Firmly press it into the crack/gap you want sealed.

When to install rope caulk

This isn’t written in stone, but it’s easier to install caulk during warm weather. The caulk is softer when warm and will stick into cracks and gaps much easier than it would when cold.

Mortite rope caulk adds a whole new meaning to “like putty in my hands,” and offers a whole new meaning to home insulation with its easy-to-install, energy efficient, and money saving qualities.

Shop now for rope caulk>>>

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5 Things You Should Know About DIY Spray Foam

DIY Spray Foam
DIY Spray Foam

Spray foam is to your home like a cap is to a bottle of soda – keeping air from leaving and coming out, but the mysteries of spray foam don’t begin and end there. In addition to sealing air leaks (and unlike a soda cap), spray foam also works to insulate the home. Making sure you don’t lose your head while navigating the waters of spray insulators, here are 5 things you should know about DIY spray foam insulation.

1. It’s an Insulator

Spray foam keeps your home from being uncomfortable to live in year round (at least where temperature is concerned). Basically it acts as an insulator by blocking cracks and gaps where air can get in or out. Installing spray foam:

  • Protects your home from extreme cold in winter
  • Protects your home from extreme heat in the summer
  • Limits entrances for critters

2. Spray Foam Measured in Board Feet

Spray foam kits are measured in board feet, or square feet. A 600 board foot kit will cover 600 square feet at 1 inch thickness or 300 square feet at 2 inches thick; a 200 board foot kit will cover 200 square feet at 1 inch thickness, and so on. What makes spray foam a smart investment is that it expands, so a little goes a long way as it expands rapidly. So to calculate how much spray foam you would need for your project, calculate the square footage to be covered first. Then decide on the desired thickness to achieve you desired insulation level. e.g. for closed spray foam the R Value is 7.12 per inch.  If your area to be sprayed is 580 square feet and you want an R value of 14, then you would need (2) 600 board feet spray foam kits to finish your project.

3. Where You Should Use It

There are many areas where spray foam can be of use, but these places make the overall top 3-5 list:

  • Attics and Garages – Most attics and garages are poorly insulated areas, always either overly hot or overly cold.
  • Basements – Basements fall prey to humidity, breeding mold and mildew when not properly insulated.
  • Walls, Ceilings and Floors – Air leaks are at home in the cracks/gaps found in walls, ceilings and floors.

4. How to Use Spray Foam

To get an even stream of foam, the DIY spray foam “B” tank needs to be warmed up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit before use. The warming makes it the same, milky consistency of the “A” tank. Tank can be warmed by:

  • Storing it in a warm room
  • Covering tank with an electric blanket
  • Using a tank warmer

Spraying 1″ thickness expands 30 times, so be a little conservative with spraying the foam.

Finally, always wear protective gear (goggles, gloves, disposable coverall) when completing DIY projects.

5. It Saves You Energy and Money

Spray foam protects the energy in a home from escaping and prevents outside air from breaking through, giving you – not air leaks and the gas company – control over the temperature in your home and the results of your heating bill.

Energy

Proper insulation makes it easier for the air system in your home to work the way it was intended to, preventing the need to adjust the heating/cooling system throughout the day.

Money

During winter, heating costs alone are 2% on every degree you raise the thermostat. That’s money spent on energy flying straight through all of those gaps and cracks. You can reduce your energy costs by up to 20% by using DIY spray foam and other energy efficient tools.

Ultimately, the comfort of your home and ease on the wallet make using DIY spray foam a smart, energy and cost efficient solution to your heating and cooling woes.

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Insulating Outside with Pur Black Foam

Pur Black Foam
Pur Black Foam

There are a number of cracks and gaps located inside the home that let the air from outside come in. This leads to extreme energy loss, which in turn results in higher energy bills. Just as important as sealing air from the inside is applying insulation outside. Pur Black Foam is applied on the outside of the home where necessary to prevent air from leaking out and raising energy costs.

Pur Black Foam is a low expansion, closed cell foam ideal for sealing problematic areas outdoors. The black color it has allows it to blend well in outdoor settings. It is commonly used around doors and windows, in basements, and in attics to seal cracks and gaps. Pur Black Foam comes in a canister that should be attached to a foam gun for application. The exact foam gun necessary depends on the area being insulated. For larger areas, a foam gun with a larger opening for application would be best, whereas for sealing smaller areas a foam gun with a smaller opening would be ideal. Each can produces enough foam to cover 1,200 linear feet at 1/2” bead. Within 10 minutes it is tack-free, and within 30 minutes it can trimmed.

Studies show that the average homeowner spends as much as $3,400 in the span of 5 years on energy that is wasted as a result of air leaks. Reducing the amount of air leaks that occur in the home significantly reduces the amount of money spent on them every year. Also, sealing these leaks allows you to control the way the home feels, as you will have less of a battle to fight with outdoor temperatures. Pur Black Foam allows you to eliminate air leaks from the outside, gain control over home temperatures, and save money on energy bills all at the same time.

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Insulating with Duct Mastic Helps You Save in Summer

Sealing Ducts
Duct Mastic

As the high temperatures across the country start to set records, what steps have you taken to reduce the amount of money being spent to cool your home? For many, the answer is insulating the attic, basement, and garage. While insulating these areas will definitely help you cut costs, there is another area that can easily be forgotten: ducts. According to Energy Star, ducts that are leaking air can easily release up to 20 percent of conditioned air flowing through them. This leads to energy loss, a less efficient cooling system, and higher energy costs. Applying duct mastic, whether tape or putty, for sealing ducts helps take care of all of these problems at the same time.

Mastic Tapes

A simple way to go about sealing ducts is through the use of mastic tape. The tape can be applied to flexible duct, fiberglass duct board, and metal ducts, including stainless, galvanized, and aluminum. It can be used indoors or outdoors, as it is weatherproof and able to withstand temperatures as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit to as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Duct Mastic Bucket

Another tool that is used for sealing ducts is the duct mastic, a fibrous adhesive sealant that has the consistency of putty, allowing it to be malleable. It can be used on ducts that lack insulation as well as for coating of thermal insulation on ducts and pipes. Like the mastic tapes, this sealant has the ability to withstand extreme temperatures. The duct mastic is non-flammable, non-toxic, and dries completely within 30 minutes of application.

Once ducts have been sealed, the problem of losing conditioned air through this source will be eliminated. Limiting the amount of pressure put on the cooling system in this way helps increase its efficiency and possibly its shelf life. The reduction in energy loss added to the increased efficiency of the cooling system leads to less money being spent during the summer months to cool the home. When less money is necessary to cool the home, you have more money to budget however you would like.

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Installing an Attic Tent to Reduce Energy Loss at Home

Attic Door Insulation Cover
Attic Tent

How often would you like the air from the attic to mix with the air in the living area of your home? Unless your attic is properly ventilated and insulated, the answer is probably never, right? Insulating the entire attic can be a time-consuming and costly project. If it is one that is not within your budget this summer, installing an attic tent will help you reduce unwanted air exchanges and energy waste experienced at home without breaking the bank. Once you have chosen the right size attic door insulation cover, it can be installed in a matter of minutes.

Choosing the Right Size

We’re all guilty of purchasing a new outfit only to realize it may be a size too big or too small. That could have been avoided by trying it on first, right? Apply this same concept to choosing your attic tent. Before purchasing one, make sure you know what size you should be looking for. Measure the width, length, and height of the attic door way when folded. The average attic door size would use the AT-2 model, which measures 25″x54″x7″. If the attic ladder side rail is made with a 1×4, a height of 7″ is necessary. If the side rails are made with a 1×5 or 1×6, a height of 13″ is required.

Installation

An attic door insulation cover can be installed over attic stairs, knee wall doors, and over an attic scuttle hole. The installation method depends on which of these applications you will be using the attic insulation for:

A) Attic Stairs

  1. At the end of the attic stair box, place the attic tent. The zipper heads should be hinged at the end.
  2. On all four sides, staple the rough frame to the mounting hinge (staple about every 2-3 inches along).
  3. Use a bead of caulk to seal any air leaks between the rough frame and mounting flange.

B) Knee Wall Door

  1. The attic tent should be vertically aligned to the back of the door frame. Make sure the zipper end is down.
  2. To attach to the floor, fold the flange under the zipper side.
  3. On the attic side, staple around the door frame, and use a bead of caulk for sealing.

C) Attic Scuttle Hole

  1. Use a piece of 1/2 inch plywood, for example measuring 24″x35″ to be attached along the attic floor joist and the connecting side of the access hole.
  2. Seal other adjoining areas to allow the tent to have the required mounting surface.
  3. Placing the zippers close to the access, position the insulation cover over the scuttle hole.
  4. Staple the flange of the tent around the plywood and access frame.
  5. As with the other applications, apply a bead of caulk for a tighter seal.

With a little time and the right tools, you can begin to reduce energy loss and protect the home from the harsher temperatures of the attic during extreme weather months. The added insulation provided by an attic tent will not only allow you to gain more control over the temperature indoors, but it will reduce energy bills by up to $170 each year it is left in place.

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Comparing 2 Part Spray Foam to 1 Component Spray Foam

Types of Spray Foam Insulation
Types of Spray Foam Insulation

As the season of extreme temperatures gets closer, have you given any consideration as to how you can regulate the cost of energy? Applying spray foam insulation in the rooms that are poorly insulated, such as the basement, garage, and attic, dramatically reduces energy loss as well as the cost of energy. There are two different types of spray foam insulation that are ideal for different situations: 1 component spray foam, and 2 part spray foam. Having knowledge of the type of insulation you need helps speed up the process of sealing these costly air leaks.

1 Component Spray Foam

  • Expansion Amount: 10% when applied at 1/2” thickness
  • Curing time: 20 minutes
  • R-Value: 5.4 (per inch)
  • Amount of tanks: 1

As a result of this being a low expansion foam, 1 component spray foam is commonly used to seal air leaks around doors, windows, HVAC and electrical penetrations, plumbing, and other small-sized areas where leaks occur. The foam should be kept at room temperature. It cures when exposed to moisture, so if you are going to use this insulation on a cold or dry day, be sure to use a spritzer to assist with the curing process.

2 Part Spray Foam

  • Expansion Amount: 30 times when applied at 1” thickness
  • Curing Time: Within 1 minute
  • R-Value: 7.12 per inch
  • Amount of tanks: 2

The high expansion 2 part spray foam is used to seal large-scale air leaks. It is commonly used to insulate walls, floors, and ceilings. This type of insulation has a higher R-value than 1 component spray foam, making it a more effective insulator. As with 1 part foam, the two tanks should be left at room temperature. Also note that the tanks are of different consistencies, and one tank needs to be warmed up to match the consistency of the other once you are ready for application.

Both 1 component spray foam and 2 part spray foam are closed cell, meaning the cells in the foam are packed closely together, instead of loosely. This provides the foam with strength and enables it to be water resistant, although not waterproof. All instructions regarding safety and application should be followed carefully. Regardless of the type that is necessary for your home, spray foam insulation seals air leaks and continues to save money on energy bills long after it has been used.

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Weatherizing with White Vinyl Tape

White Vinyl Tape
White Vinyl Tape

A variety of tapes are used when attempting to weatherproof the home. Duct and foil tapes, for example, are commonly utilized for sealing leaky ductwork. The Venture Tape 460, also referred to as white vinyl tape, is a weatherization tape commonly used as seaming for vinyl faced fiberglass insulation and insulation blankets for water heaters. This sort of tape is produced to withstand extreme temperature conditions, such as high heat, as well as humidity. As a result, it is incredibly durable and is able to be used in a variety of conditions.

Each roll of white vinyl tape is 3-inches wide and 150-feet long. The durability of this sort of tape is not only limited to the type of weather conditions it can tolerate, but also in the strength of it. In addition, it is plasticizer and shrink resistant. The backing of the white vinyl tape is simple peel and stick, bonding securely.  It can be easily applied not only to fiberglass insulation and water heater blankets, but used for patching up tears in insulation as well.

White vinyl tape is a strong and solid tape. This tape has many benefits and can be used on many types of insulation. It helps keep insulation securely in place, and once applied, it can stand temperatures just as well as the insulation that it is being used on.