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The Energy Efficient Benefits of Weather Stripping and Sealing Gaps

Sealing and insulating the openings of your home (including windows, doors and vents) is one of the most economical ways to lower your energy bills, improve energy efficiency, and maintain indoor air quality. A skilled contractor or educated homeowner can save up to 10-20% on their energy bills by properly sealing a house.

According to Natural Resources Canada, “You can reduce (your) heating and cooling needs by up to 20 percent by getting rid of drafts and leaks around windows, doors, baseboards and attic hatches. On average, half of your home’s heating and cooling will escape through walls (35%), windows (25%), floors (15%) and the roof (25%).”

Benefits of Using Foam Sealants for Weather Stripping:

-Keeps the bugs out
-Improves indoor air quality
-Reduces allergens like dust, pollen, and mold from entering
-Better heating, cooling, and humidity control
-Eliminates air drafts, water leaks, and mildew build-up

Homeowners and contractors most commonly seal air and water leaks in windows and doors, but there are many hidden leaks throughout the house that are letting the heat pass through. Examine your attic, crawlspaces, basement, and garage vents for hidden cracks.

Where to look for air leaks:

-Along penetrations (exhaust fans, chimney, vents, ducts and faucets)
-Small cable, electrical or phone line entrances
-Air leaks in the attic
-Along major air passages
-Small holes where wiring passes through
-Around windows and doors
-Beside electrical outlets
-Holes or cracks in plumbing pipes
-Gaps in bricks, siding, stucco and foundations

You can use weather strips, caulking or spray foam sealants when sealing air drafts. Caulking and weather strips can differ greatly in quality and are often limited to the substrates they bond to. These weather stripping applications are a “quick fix” for air leaks. Spray foam sealants on the other hand have a high R-value and product longevity, this means that the seal will last longer than caulking or weather stripping would. Unlike caulking, polyurethane spray foam expands and contracts to completely fill cracks and holes.

When looking at spray foam sealants, there are a few things you’ll want to consider:

-Is it fire retardant?
-Is there a sufficient R-Value (4-5 inch)?
-Is it low-expansion?
-Is the product compatible for my application?

Some polyurethane spray foams exert approximately 7-8 psig of pressure which can be a startling amount of foam for a small gap. Take a couple practice “shots” to get an idea of how your foam will behave. Every product is different.

ArcticFoam Products has introduced a new line of closed-cell low pressure spray foam that exerts less than 2 psig of pressure while still expanding to fill the space. Cured spray foam is not the easiest thing to clean up so you want to spray in the right amount.

Another great feature of ArcticFoam Products Pro Series application gun is the ability to control the size of the bead. So if you have a large gap, adjust the bead to dispense more foam. Likewise, if you are filling a foundation crack, you will only want to dispense a small amount of foam.

How do you know where to seal? If you feel an air draft, foam it. “Insulation is like chocolate, the more you have, the better!”  – Eric Corey Freed (Organic Architect).

Want to find spray foam that doesn’t leave a mess? Contact ArcticFoam Products to find a hardware dealer in your city.

About ArcticFoam Products

ArcticFoam is a Canadian manufacturer and distributor of an innovative low pressure polyurethane foam insulation which seals windows, doors and gaps. ArcticFoam is targeted to do it yourself homeowners and professional contactors in Canada.

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