Air Sealing Your Walls
Sealing up all the cracks, gaps and holes in your home will ensure that conditioned air, which has been warmed by your heater or cooled by your air conditioner, stays inside longer. Air sealing can include everything from installing weatherstripping and door sweeps to plugging gaps around your window frames, door frames, behind baseboards and moldings, and around the places where floor meet walls, known as rim and band joists.
Generally the most cost effective way to reduce airflow and lower your home's energy usage is to seal all penetrations to the outside. Air sealing can be accomplished in a variety of ways, all of which create barriers to stop airflow by closing cracks and openings in the buildings exterior. For example, a simple action would be to remove temporarily installed window air conditioners which can account for a good deal of your air leakage.
A common pathway for cold air to get in from the outside is through electrical wall outlets. Electrical outlet sealers found in your hardware store provide a quick fix. Installation of these couldn't be easier. First, maker sure power is turned off. Then unscrew your electrical outlet cover, pop out the holes in the perforated foam insulators, and place the insulator around the fixture. Finally, screw your outlet cover back on and turn on the electricity.
Some of the most commonly used materials for air sealing are:
Caulk - Seals gaps of less than 1/2 inch. Select grade (interior, exterior, high temperature) based on application.
Two-Part Spray foam - Fills large cracks and small holes. It can be messy; consider new latex-based foams.
Weatherstripping - Use to seal moveable components, such as doors, windows, and attic accesses.
Rigid Foam Board - Use for insulating and sealing large openings,typically use in tandem with spray foam.