Sealing air leaks around windows and doors can save you energy and money. | Courtesy of Flickr user Alyson Hurt.
Originally posted on Energy.gov
Air leaks can waste a lot of your energy dollars. Whether leaks are letting hot air inside during the warmer months or letting in drafts during the cooler season, one of the quickest energy- and money-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weather strip all cracks and large openings to the outside. Air takes the path of least resistance, so you should aim to seal the big holes first. We've laid out some simple instructions for sealing most of these air leakage pathways -- but if you're sealing heating and cooling ducts, we suggest contacting contractor that's familiar with the different air sealing methods often best done with ductwork.
Most caulking compounds come in disposable cartridges that fit in half-barrel caulking guns (if possible, purchase one with an automatic release). Some pressurized cartridges do not require caulking guns. When deciding how much caulking to purchase, consider that you'll probably need a half-cartridge per window or door and four cartridges for the foundation sill. Caulking compounds can also be found in aerosol cans, squeeze tubes, and ropes for small jobs or special applications -- but usually only lasts a few years. First time using a caulking gun? eHow.com has some great tips.
The average tube of white latex window and door caulk costs approximately $2, with specialty colors and types costing about $10. A caulk gun to help squeeze out the material for application generally range in price from $5 to $20.
Sources: "How to Caulk Your Windows", Tyler Elliott, Residential Construction Consultant for eHow.com; "How to Weatherize Your Home with Silicone Caulk", Gary Dymski, Lowe's Home Improvement Expert & Spokesperson.