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winter weatherization

December 3, 2009

We’ve taken advantage of the last few sunny days to take care of some last-minute winter weatherization around here.  Since it’s supposed to snow here later today (and the rest of the week! yay!), we’re looking forward to having a warmer, less drafty house as the temperatures get cooler.  You may have already read about our adventures in attic insulation, and while that made a tremendous difference in our energy bill, we’ve recently done a bit of caulking and hole-filling that should also cut down on drafts and keep our energy bill down.

Luckily, the nice people over at DAP sent us some products to try out:

  • DAPtex® Plus – A foam insulation sealant for cracks between ½” to 2” in diameter. It is water clean up, toolable and will not overexpand.
  • DAP® 3.0™ Advanced All-Purpose Sealant – DAP 3.0 is ready for water exposure in just 3 hours. It is ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications.
  • DAP® Dynaflex 230® – A latex sealant that is both waterproof and paintable – it’s perfect for general applications, such as sealing around windows, doors, molding, siding and trim. It can be used indoors and outdoors and is water clean up.
  • Caulking gun

I have to be honest – I’ve never used a caulking gun before.  Never ever. The one time I caulked around our tub, I used something that didn’t require a gun.

The caulking gun was so much fun.  I love stuff like this – especially since it would be impossible for me to screw up!  When I did accidentally get sealant somewhere I didn’t want it, I could easily remove the wet sealant.

Anyways, our first step was to scour the DAP weatherization website for any and all possible places I could attack on the exterior of the house.  They have a really easy-to-use website: http://www.dap.com/How-To/ that made this project a breeze for a caulking newbee.  Head on over to the website, identify your “problem areas” and you’ll find suggestions for which product to use, directions for application, and other information, such as how soon you can paint after applying the product.

Another great web resource is http://sealyourhome.info/.  This website was reviewed in detail by the folks over at One Project Closer, so I’m not going to go too much into detail here, but I will say that it was a super-easy-to use website.  My favorite was the House Tour section of the website that provided project instructions and pictures.  We used it to help identify areas in which our house may be letting cold air in, and then we read the project instructions for said areas and got to work!

And, if you’re curious (and interested in competing with the average American, which I totally am), you can test how energy efficient your home is compared to the average American home hereJust for competition’s sake, we got an 8.8 out of 10 – what’s your score?! (although, I must admit that I just multiplied last month’s electrical use by 12 since they want annual energy consumption and we’ve only lived here for 6 months).

Anyways, after I played around on the website for a while, we got to work.  Have I mentioned that this was a fun and easy project?  Made even more so by a day of beautiful weather and the potential to save money?  I dig the caulk gun, but I let Jason help for a little bit so that I could take pictures for the blog.  Isn’t he so lucky?

We removed the screens from the windows (another pre-winter project that needed to be done) and attacked them with either the DAP® Dynaflex 230® or the DAP® 3.0™ Advanced All-Purpose Sealant (I was eager to try out both, so we switched it up).  Both were easy breezy to use.

We also attacked the areas where wires entered our house.  Below you see the oldish caulk.  We pulled the loose old caulk out and then re-did it with the DAP® 3.0™ Advanced All-Purpose Sealant.

And then, we got creative.  We had caulk left, and I was all about using it.  So we caulked around the base of the brand new motion-sensored lights that Jason installed a few weeks ago, because we figure that keeping water away from the electrical will be a good thing.

The DAPtex® Plus was a super-fun expanding foam.  We’ve used similar products quite a few times on our other homes, and I get a kick out of it.  I like to wear gloves when using this product – it can get a bit sticky.  (Although, the DAPtex Plus cleans up with water).  Also, keep in mind that this is a one-shot deal – the expanding foam can only be used one time, so plan to attack your cracks on the same day (otherwise the foam dries in the applicator tip and blocks future use).

We had some pretty big holes to fill.  For example, the wood blocking on our attached shed windows wasn’t looking so hot.  Check out the giant hole near the lower right portion of the window.  We might as well put out a cheese tray and send the mice a formal invitation to join us indoors this winter.  Eek! I wonder how much energy we’ve wasted just out through this little hole?  Luckily, this room is shut off from the rest of the house, but I’d imagine that keeping this room weather- and mouse-tight will reduce both our energy bills and our my freaking out about vermin in the house.

Besides sealing up almost all of the five windows in our attached shed, we used the expandable foam for filling the gaps around our water pipes.

I should also mention that sealing up the cracks in your home will not only help you reduce drafts and save energy, but could qualify you for some tax rebates (see here and here).  We’ve already qualified for the $1500 tax credit this year by purchasing a new heater, but maybe this will help some of you as you seal up your homes?

So, now I want to know: did you beat our energy efficiency rating?  Anyone else have sealing-up-your-home and saving-money-on-electricity tips? Because, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that I hate spending money on heating…

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2009 1:28 pm

    No joke, it said mine was 9.9! I was shocked! I thought I would be very low. But we also do not have a large home.

    • December 3, 2009 1:59 pm

      Ohh! That’s super-awesome! Congrats! 🙂

  2. December 3, 2009 2:00 pm

    I haven’t taken the test yet…but I should. This Summer/Fall we replaced a few windows on the front of the house, upgraded to a more energy efficient fridge, and are currently waiting for the energy-efficient dryer/washer set to arrive (is it Dec 7th yet?!). It feels good to be a bit more green, and can’t complain about the tax break either!

    **I too love caulking guns.

  3. December 4, 2009 2:25 am

    You’re insulation debacle was a hilarious post! We’re crazy busy trying to get the house & outdoors ready for winter too but it just started snowing today…not sure how much more we’re going to get done outside. I’ll have to take the test after we have some more numbers with our new geo system.

    Oh did you see my tree cutting post? I know you were looking to cut down some trees too though it’s not quite the same. It seems like no matter what you do you’ll have a torn up lawn. We were hoping the near frost would limit that but it didn’t seem to do us much good.

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