minimize air leaks.
High energy prices and increasing awareness of environmental
issues are driving many homeowners to increase their home’s energy efficiency.
Air leaks can thwart these efforts, however, as even the smallest opening in a
home can allow outside air to seep in, decreasing air quality and raising
Lori Enszer, marketer for Dow Corning Construction’s Building Assembly group,
offers four simple tips that can help homeowners improve their homes’
1) Identify Potential Air Leak Sources
While any part of the home is susceptible to air leaks, they
are most common around window and door frames, crawl spaces, attics, and
basements. While these leaks can be easily felt, finding hidden holes in a
basement or an attic can be challenging. Here are a few creative ways to search
for air leaks.
- Put a piece of paper in the door frame and close the door on it. Then
try to pull the paper out. If the paper can be removed without tearing, an air
leak exists in the space between the door and the frame.
- Dampen your hand and run it along the edge of your baseboards and
ceiling molding. The moisture will make it easier to feel any drafts. If your
ceiling molding is not within reach, use a lit incense stick and watch for air
Check for cracks and spaces in commonly affected areas:
- Attic entrance and openings
- Bricks and siding
- Electrical outlets and switch plates
- Mail chutes
- Recessed lighting
- Vents and fans
- Window and door frames
2) Seal Air Leaks with a Quality Sealant
Good sealants are able to maintain high levels of
productivity and durability while being exposed to environmental factors such
as UV light, temperature fluctuations, and moisture. Silicone sealants offer
performance advantages over traditional materials like butyl and latex, including
- Increased weather resistance. The unique structure of silicone
sealants makes them resistant to wide temperature and environmental extremes,
such as sunlight, ozone, rain or snow.
- High flexibility. Silicones keep a strong bond, even when being stretched
- Durability. Silicone sealants resist cracks, splits and
- Long-term performance. Silicone sealants that were applied in the
1970s are still performing today, which means less work over time.
3) Install Energy-Efficient Windows
While air leaks can occur throughout your home, windows are
the most obvious contributors to inefficient energy use. According to the U.S.
Department of Energy, windows account for 10-25% of residential heating and
cooling costs. Replacing current windows with energy-efficient alternatives can
cut down on energy use and energy bills.
Choosing the right window for a home requires understanding a simple label and
rating system. Window manufacturers use either a U- or an R-value to rate the
product’s efficiency. The U-value indicates a window’s tendency to transfer
heat either in or out; the R-value describes the window’s resistance to
transferring heat in or out. Generally speaking, homeowners should select a
replacement window with a high R-value and a low U-value.
4) Install Solar Panels
homeowners willing to make a bigger investment in long-term energy efficiency,
installing solar panels is the way to go. As a completely renewable energy
source, solar panels are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners. Solar
panels installed on the roof create electricity needed to run appliances in a
home by converting sunlight into electricity. Dow Corning offers silicone
solutions for photovoltaic cell manufacturing, module assembly and
About Dow Corning Construction
more than 60 years, architects, building consultants, contractors and
construction material providers around the world have turned to Dow Corning for
its expertise and its silicon-based, performance-enhancing materials and
additives for glazing, sealing, and weatherproofing new and existing
construction projects. For more information, visit www.dowcorning.com/construction
About Dow Corning
Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of
more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones,
silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000
products and services through the Dow Corning®
brands. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Co. and Corning Inc. More than half of Dow Corning’s
annual sales are made outside the United States. For more
information, visit www.dowcorning.com