Ace Is The Hardware Place – This post is mainly about filling cracks

If you are letting cold air in then you are wasting money. Calking is the quickest way to stop that.

The average house-even when well-insulated-contains cracks and gaps between building materials that add up to a hole about 14 inches square (see image below). In the winter, those gaps may make the house drafty and chilly. All year long, a leaky house not only wastes energy but can lead to water damage and provide a path for insects.

Inside this document you will find information about:

  • Weatherproofing Basics
  • Types of Caulking
  • Using Caulking
  • Types of Weatherstripping
  • Installing Weatherstripping


  • In all the discussion of insulation and R-values, don’t forget that poor weatherproofing is often a more important source of discomfort, as well as high heating and cooling bills.
  • Some air leakage can be prevented during construction by using housewrap or getting a tight fit between framing members, for example. Once the house is built, however, the remaining gaps must be sealed. Gaps around doors and window sashes should be weatherstripped, and gaps between permanent building materials sealed with caulking.


  • A number of factors must be considered when choosing caulking. They include durability, flexibility, whether the caulk can be painted and, of course, price.
  • The most expensive caulk is not always the best product for every job, so you should carefully consider which product is appropriate to your situation. Read product labels and manufacturers’ literature, and ask your salesperson for his or her recommendation.
  • Here is a list of common caulks and their characteristics. Different types of caulking are designed for different applications, and quality can vary among different brands of the same type because of different formulations used.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Oil-Base Painter’s Caulk (1-2 yr. life) – Not very elastic. Dries out easily. Paintable after curing. Lowest cost.
  • Latex (3-10 yr. life) – Use mostly indoors. Goes on easily. Low elasticity. Sticks to porous surfaces only. Easy water cleanup. Low in cost. Paintable.
  • Butyl Rubber (3-10 yr. life) – High elasticity. Sticks to most surfaces. High moisture resistance. Flexible when cured. Most difficult to work with as it is very sticky.
  • Acrylic Latex (10 yr. life) – Good elasticity. Sticks to most surfaces. Reasonable moisture resistance. Paintable. Good for around doors and windows. May not be used below freezing.
  • Silicon-Latex Blend (20+ yr. life) – Good elasticity. Excellent weathering ability. Medium shrinkage. Adheres to most surfaces. Some cannot be painted. May not be used below freezing.



This is a really long piece so go there and read that. More tomorrow.


Weather Proofing Or Weatherization – Doesn’t matter much

No matter what you call it, it is an attempt to keep the brrr and ssssiss factors at bay. In the Arctic and the Equator it would just be called staying alive.


Weatherization (American English) or weatherproofing (British English) is the practice of protecting a building and its interior from the elements, particularly from sunlight, precipitation, and wind, and of modifying a building to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency.

Weatherization is distinct from building insulation, although building insulation requires weatherization for proper functioning. Many types of insulation can be thought of as weatherization, because they block drafts or protect from cold winds. Whereas insulation primarily reduces conductive heat flow, weatherization primarily reduces convective heat flow.

In the United States, buildings use one third of all energy consumed and two thirds of all electricity. Due to the high energy usage, they are a major source of the pollution that causes urban air quality problems and pollutants that contribute to climate change. Building energy usage accounts for 49 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, 25 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and 10 percent of particulate emissions.[

Typical weatherization procedures include:

  • Sealing bypasses (cracks, gaps, holes), especially around doors, windows, pipes and wiring that penetrate the ceiling and floor, and other areas with high potential for heat loss, using caulk, foam sealant, weather-stripping, window film, door sweeps, electrical receptacle gaskets, and so on to reduce infiltration.
  • Sealing recessed lighting fixtures(‘can lights’ or ‘high-hats’), which leak large amounts of air into unconditioned attic space.
  • Sealing air ducts, which can account for 20% of heat loss, using fiber-reinforced mastic(not duck/duct tape, which is not suitable for this purpose)
  • Installing/replacing dampers in exhaust ducts, to prevent outside air from entering the house when the exhaust fan or clothes dryer is not in use.
  • Protecting pipes from corrosion and freezing.
  • Installing footing drains, foundation waterproofing membranes, interior perimeter drains, sump pump, gutters, downspout extensions, downward-sloping grading, French drains, swales, and other techniques to protect a building from both surface water and ground water.
  • Providing proper ventilation to unconditioned spaces to protect a building from the effects of condensation. See Ventilation issues in houses
  • Installing roofing, building wrap, siding, flashing, skylights or solar tubes and making sure they are in good condition on an existing building.
  • Installing insulation in walls, floors, and ceilings, around ducts and pipes, around water heaters, and near the foundation and sill.
  • Installing storm doors and storm windows.
  • Replacing old drafty doors with tightly sealing, foam-core doors.
  • Replacing older windows with low-energy, double-glazed windows.

The phrase “whole-house weatherization” extends the traditional definition of weatherization to include installation of modern, energy-saving heating and cooling equipment, or repair of old, inefficient equipment (furnaces, boilers, water heaters, programmable thermostats, air conditioners, and so on). The “Whole-House” approach also looks at how the house performs as a system


More tomorrow.


It Is Nearly Winter – Time to tighten up the house

I mowed the lawn probably for the last time and the house plants are coming in today as well. Time to tighten up the house and cover up the air conditioner unit.

Winterizing Your Home

Preparing Your Home for Winter

By , Guide

The fall Equinox is a good time of year to start thinking about preparing your home for winter, because as temperatures begin to dip, your home will require maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape through the winter.

Autumn is invariably a prelude to falling winter temperatures, regardless of where you live. It might rain or snow or, as David Letterman says, “Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees.” Did you know there is only one state in the United States where the temperatures have never dipped below zero? Give up? It’s Hawaii.

Here are ten tips to help you prepare your home for winter:

1) Furnace Inspection

  • Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
  • Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
  • Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
  • If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
  • Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.

2) Get the Fireplace Ready

  • Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
  • If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
  • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
  • Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.

3) Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows

  • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  • Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
  • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
  • If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
  • Switch out summer screens with glass replacements from storage. If you have storm windows, install them.

4) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

  • If your weather temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams.
  • Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
  • Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
  • Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.


That is four out of ten. Go read the rest. More tomorrow.


Energy Home Team – Pretty informative articles for the homeowner

I don’t always agree with these folks. Some of their comments on windows for instance leave a little to be desired but still it is a great place to start. Here is a taste.

Most Popular Articles


Home Performance Teams: Working Together to Maximize Energy Efficiency

“No one can be an expert at everything. The best results come from specialists working together for a common goal.”

Industry News

5 Low-Cost, Energy Efficient Home Improvements that Increase the Value of Your Home

August 11th 2011

You want to make your home more energy efficient, but you don’t want to spend a lot on home improvements.

Schell Brothers, LLC Commits to Marketing the HERS Index of all Their Homes – First Delaware Builder to Make Commitment

August 11th 2011

Schell Brothers, LLC, a Rehoboth Beach, Delaware based homebuilder has entered into an agreement with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to provide new home buyers an important measurement of long-term energy performance of each new home the company builds.

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Michigan Commits to Marketing the HERS Index of all Their New Homes – First Habitat for Humanity Affiliate to Make Commitment

August 10th 2011

The Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Michigan has entered into an agreement with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to provide new home buyers an important measurement of long-term energy performance of each new home the organization builds. The intent of the agreement is to raise consumers’ knowledge of new home energy performance by using RESNET’s HERS Index.

Quail Homes Commits to Marketing the HERS Index of all Their Homes Built in Oregon and Washington

August 10th 2011

Quail Homes, a Vancouver, Washington based homebuilder has entered into an agreement with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to provide new home buyers an important measurement of long-term energy performance of each new home the company builds.

Replacing Windows for Energy Efficiency?

August 10th 2011

Think Again. There are better options.

TriState Habitat for Humanity Commits to Marketing the HERS Index of all Their Homes Built In Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio

August 10th 2011

TriState Habitat for Humanity has entered into an agreement with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to provide new home buyers an important measurement of long-term energy performance of each new home the company builds.

Heartland Builders Commits to Marketing the HERS Index of all Their Homes Built in Western Michigan

August 3rd 2011

Heartland Builders, a Grand Rapids, Michigan based homebuilder has entered into an agreement with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to provide new home buyers an important measurement of long-term energy performance of each new home the company builds.


More tomorrow.


I Never Miss The State Fair – But sometimes it require grit

Man the State Fair was kinda disappointing for me this year, at least from an energy perspective. Now I admit that the first year I started posting here was a pretty heady year. IDE had 2 booths for energy conservation. One was for seniors and one for the general public. Conservation World was packed. The Sierra Club had a tent with CWLP complete witha solar exhibit and a hybrid car. There were doors and windows guys galore in the Exhibition Hall, and even a guy selling wind turbines. The AG Equipment section even had an exhibit about biofuels. This year there was nada until I stopped at the “don’t mess with powerlines” guys tent (sorry – Live Line Demos) and saw the Wall Of Efficiencies display that was sharing space with him. Here is my picture.

That is Aaron Ridenour of PPI. According to him, they originally got the Wall to take to there members Board Members meeting but since then it has been to North Dakota, Kansas and Washington DC. They were actually in a Senate Hearing concerning a Coops Bill.

Here is what they say about it:

tilized by PPI and its member cooperatives over the past few years. The sixteen foot “Energy Efficiency Walls” illustrate various opportunities for air infiltration or leakage within the common home due to poor construction practices and materials. The displays address: energy efficient construction practices and materials, and energy efficient equipment and technologies. The proper use of caulking around penetration points in the home’s external walls, such as window and door openings, gas, water, AC and heating system fuel lines and ventilation systems, and the selection and installation of energy efficient insulation materials, ventilation equipment and lighting systems are just a few of the energy efficient items illustrated in the Walls. Utilizing the displays at member cooperatives’ annual membership meetings, NRECA and Touchstone Energy regional events, community college workshops and educational classes, … homebuilder shows, county fairs, legislative briefings in Washington DC to promote energy efficiency loan programs and other events, … over 400,000 consumers have been exposed to the educational opportunities of the Energy Efficiency Walls since 2009.


More tomorrow.


Continuing To Take A Window Out Of Service – For about 2 bucks

Sometimes you run into something that you have never faced before. Oh, by the way the last 2 requests for links and posting their website or guest posting turned out to be bullshit. Sorry, I mean internet frauds of one sort or another. But I went into the bedroom to repair some tinfoil that I used to shut down a window and the tinfoil was hot! That has never happened to me before so I am further blocking off the two windows with a layer of styrofoam. I am trying to create a dead air space to act as an insulation zone. Speaking of fraud wait to you see this space here tomorrow. I plan on closing out the week by beating the stuffing out of ArcticPro. First here is the modern way to make your windows functional.

Daylighting Window Films – Taking Window Film Out of the Dark Ages


In the dark ages of window films consumers had to make a tough choice between two evils. Do they select a dark window film to block glare and heat, or do they have a mirror like window film installed? Either way; the Hobbesian Choice had a down side. Today’s window films like VISTA Window Film created a new dynamic and resulting solution for consumers. Superior glare rejection and heat blocking while providing visible light and optimum clarity. No longer the “dark days” or what we used to call “Scotch Gloom” , but rather a perfect balance. The advances made in the last few years in the area of thin films and nanotechnology have been the vehicle for these advances in performance. Here in the Tampa Bay area where we install Vista Safety and Security Films our clients are extremely aware of their home’s aesthetics. They specifically request low reflectivity films for interior as well as exterior views. There is an entire industry related to this concept known as daylighting. Daylighting or more accurately side-lighting is the concept of using the sun’s natural light to illuminate interior space rather than electric lighting. Researchers like the Berkely labs and the Lighting Collaborative have produced studies that define the psychological benefits of natural light. Natural light is already being designed into homes and offices via skylights and light solar tubes. Now the new nanotechnology and nano-ceramic window films allow for daylighting without the associated glare and heat gain that raised the thermostat and forced employees and homeowners to drop the blinds and shades. There are critical benefits associated with daylighting at retail stores where traffic increases when there is more natural light, and security issues at retail stores is addressed since law enforcement can have visibility into the store during the day or night. Just think of a “hold up robbery” Today’s window films provide numerous historic benefits with none of the downside. A new bright future for consumers who wish to save energy costs but don’t want to live in the dark!

Mike FeldmanAbout the Author:

Mike Feldman is the President of Advanced Film Solutions an exclusive Vista and FormulaOne High Performance Films provider in the Tampa Bay area. He was formerly with 3M (mmm) for 33 years holding numerous positions including National Sales Manager of 3M Window Film

More tomorrow.

Cooling Your House Without Air Conditioning – This is a huge list

What the last list lacked. Big ticket sugestions, this one over does. Still it is pretty comprehensive. Nobody yet has mentioned paint your roof white.  I can not put all of it up because it is so huge. Please go and see the rest at:


Annie B. Bond

23 Tips for Keeping the House Cool

a Care2 favorite by Annie B. Bond

Read more:

Adapted from Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, by Alex Wilson,  Jennifer Thorne, and John Morrill.

Puzzling out how to keep your house as cool as possible during these hot  summer months? Trying to remember the conventional wisdom but not quite sure how  it goes? Those window fans, for example, should they be placed to draw air in or  out? Upwind or downwind of the dwelling? And what about windows, shades, and  awnings? Are windows on the North side of the house better left closed or open  during the day? Are awnings better than shades?

Find out the answers to these questions and more, right here:

The recent heat spell on the East Coast dredged these questions up for me,  and I am sure these questions are seasonal for many of us. Efficient cooling  saves money, energy, and the quality of our lives.

Turning to Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings by Alex Wilson,  Jennifer Thorne, and John Morrill of the American Council for an  Energy-Efficient Economy has provided a wealth of answers to just these  questions and more. I’ve compiled 23 tricks about how to keep a house cool to  reduce the need for air conditioning from this book, as well as a few from The Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook. These tips are really  useful.

1.  Reduce the cooling load by employing cost-effective conservation  measures. Provide effective shade for east and west windows.  When possible,  delay heat-generating activities such as dishwashing until evening on hot  days.

2.  Over most of the cooling season, keep the house closed tight during the  day. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. Ventilate at night either  naturally or with fans.

3.  You can help get rid of unwanted heat through ventilation if the  temperature of the incoming air is 77 F or lower. (This strategy works most  effectively at night and on cooler days.) Window fans for ventilation are a good  option if used properly. They should be located on the downwind side of the  house facing out. A window should be open in each room. Interior doors must  remain open to allow air flow

Read more:


More tomorrow.


How To Cool Your House – These people really miss some big ones

These guys skip some of the bigger ticket items like taking windows out of service, and buying a dehumidifier, closing off the upper floors of your house and pumping cool air from your basement using your furnace fan. Still you have to start somewhere.

Reading Mickey’s interview Author Stan Cox Explores Some Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World makes one think about what the alternatives are. Planet Green and TreeHugger have covered many of them; we round them up ten of them here.
Use awnings.

According to the Washington Post, The Department of Energy estimates that awnings can reduce solar heat gain—the amount temperature rises because of sunshine—by as much as 65 percent on windows with southern exposures and 77 percent on those with western exposures. Your furniture will last longer, too.

We noted in Planet Green last spring that this can translate into a saving of cooling energy of 26 percent in hot climates, and 33 percent in more temperate climates where it might even make air conditioning unnecessary.

Plant A Tree.

I don’t own an air conditioner. The house immediately to the south does it for us, completely shading the south side of our house. What it misses, a huge ancient maple in its front yard gets, so in winter I get a lot of sun in my window, and in summer I am always in shade. A tree is as sophisticated as any electronic device around; it lets the sun through in winter and grows leaves in summer to block it.

Geoffrey Donovan studied it in Sacramento, and calculated the savings.

“Everyone knows that shade trees cool a house. No one is going to get a Nobel Prize for that conclusion,” says the study co-author, Geoffrey Donovan. “But this study gets at the details: Where should a tree be placed to get the most benefits? And how exactly do shade trees impact our carbon footprint?”

Plant Vines.

Frank Lloyd Wright once said “a doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.” It turns out he could have been a mechanical engineer, for it is surprising how effective vines are at keeping a house cool. With the new weatherization grants, the salesmen are out peddling ground source heat pumps to keep you cool for less, but really, free is better.

Vines such as ivy, russian-vine and virgina creeper grow quickly and have an immediate effect; according to

Climbers can dramatically reduce the maximum temperatures of a building by shading walls from the sun, the daily temperature fluctuation being reduced by as much as 50%.Together with the insulation effect, temperature fluctuations at the wall surface can be reduced from between –10°/14°F to 60°C/140°F to between 5°C/41°F and 30°/86°F. Vines also cool your home through envirotranspiration, described in our post Be Cool and Plant A Tree.


Please read the rest for more. The next  idea “opening your windows” might not be such a good idea.


More tomorrow if I live.


My Air Conditioner Failed – So this week it is personal

Our 26 year old York air conditioner failed on Saturday. We had it recharged 2 months ago but it did not hold. It was worth a try because it had never been tapped before. Now we have to get a new one. I spent an hour today taking 2 east facing windows out of service to help cut down on the heat load. They don’t really talk about that here.

So here are the standard tips on cooling your house without AC. I will be doing this for the rest of the week.

10 ways to keep cool at home without A/C

By Chaya, selected from Hometalk

Posted Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:18pm PDT

Save energy this summer. It’s easy to keep your house cool without air conditioning. Employing a few basic environmentally friendly principals will help keep you cool and will help you save money.

1. Hot Air Out, Cool Air In

The most basic thing you can do to keep your house cooler without air conditioning is to keep as much sunlight out as possible and let cooler air in at night. During the day, keep windows, drapes, blinds or shades closed, especially on the southern and western sides of your home. If you have a porch, you can put up large plastic or bamboo shades to cut down on sunlight.

2. Windows

Use white or light colored window dressings to reflect light. You can also apply reflective slicks to windows to further cut down on light. At night, leave cabinets open as well, as they will store heat.

3. Be a Fan of the Fan

Moving air is cooler air. At night, place fans in windows to bring more cool air in. Ceiling fans can also make a big difference. In terms of cooling, even a one-mile-per-hour breeze will make you feel three to four degrees cooler. In terms of energy savings, if you run a ceiling fan full-blast for 12 hours, you will only spend about $10 a month in electricity. Ceiling fans have two settings, one to pull air up (for winter use), and the other to push air down. Make sure your ceiling fan is blowing down.

4. Turn Your Fan Into an Air Conditioner

Another easy way to cool your home without air conditioning is to place a bowl of ice or a frozen milk jug in front of one or more fans.

5. What’s Hot in Your Home?

It’s one thing to keep hot air and sunlight out; it’s another to identify the appliances in your home that generate heat. If you aren’t at home during the day, it is easier to simply shut off as many electric appliances as possible. If you spend more of your day at home, try to use heat-generating appliances only during the coolest part of the day.

Keeping your electronics on a power strip provides a quick way to “power-down” before leaving for the day.

7. Light Bulbs


Please. If you are still using incandescent lightbulbs you are insane. That means at least 80 member of the House Of Representatives. But then you knew that. Please go to the site and read the rest. Has some interesting links as well.


More tomorrow.


Residential Energy Services – The Green Home way

This site offers a lot of features. Most of the cover page is one of those fancy slick every changing happy pictures type power point presentations so I will spare you that, but they have a lot of really useful information so:

Save money and live more comfortably by increasing the energy efficiency of your home.

We make improvements to your entire home so you can:

  • Reduce your energy bills
  • Increase the comfort of your home
  • Breathe healthier air indoors
  • Help the environment!

Learn how we did it for 10,000 other families

Cash Incentives Available

We assist with all paperwork and help identify all applicable rebates

Learn more about government incentives

One Call… We Do It All!


More next week.