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How to Fix Air Leaks in Your Home

Having a 1/16-inch unsealed crack around a window is like leaving that window open 3 inches. Decrease your heating bill and your energy use by sealing up air leaks.


  • Step 1: Remove old caulk Remove all old caulk around the area you're going to seal with the putty knife. Make sure the surface is clean and dry.
  • Step 2: Clean area Use a strong cleaning solution if necessary to remove all grease and grime.
  • Step 3: Load caulking gun Cut 1/4 inch off the tip of a caulk cartridge and load it into the caulking gun.
  • TIP: Caulking guns with an automatic release create much less mess than simple caulk guns and are well worth the extra few dollars.
  • Step 4: Find cracks During warm, dry weather (at least 40
  • Step 5: Fill cracks Start with the attic and basement. To fix a leak, hold the caulking gun at a 45
  • TIP: Many different types of caulk are available. Choose one that will bind to all materials you're filling in. More expensive caulk tends to last longer.
  • Step 6: Fill joints and frames If you still feel drafts, fill in joints around windows and doorframes, both inside and outside your house.
  • Step 7: Fill gaps Fill in all gaps created by the junction of siding and other materials like the chimney, foundation, and roof. These are common places for air to escape your house's shell.
  • TIP: For gaps that are wider than 1/4 inch, use an expanding foam sealant instead of caulk.
  • Step 8: Choose weather stripping To make windows and doors more airtight, use weather stripping. Select an appropriate material based on how much wear-and-tear the stripping will experience.
  • Step 9: Apply weather stripping Make sure all surfaces to be weather stripped are clean and dry, then measure the length twice and cut the stripping to fit. Make sure the stripping forms a good seal without sticking.
  • FACT: New energy-efficient windows and doors can save you 25 to 40% on energy costs. That translates into $125 to $450 in savings each year for an average house.

You Will Need

  • Caulk cartridges
  • Caulking gun
  • Putty knife
  • And weather stripping
  • Expanding foam sealant

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