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 Step 2- Seal the Leaks to Save

Heating and cooling escapes most homes through leaks in outer walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows...often referred to as your home's building envelope. According to ENERGY STAR, homeowners who have building envelope leaks sealed and adequate insulation added by a skilled contractor can save up to 10% - or $200 - on their total annual energy bills.

Though a contractor is required for some work, other projects can be handled by a do-it-yourselfer.  

ENERGY STAR Do-It-Yourself home sealing and insulating guide.

Main House
Seal small gaps in and around where pipes, electrical wires and vents connect with walls.
  • Seal holes up to 3" in diameter with spray foam.
  • Cover spaces larger than 3" with a piece of foam board and seal with spray foam.
  • Make sure that the connections at vents and registers are well sealed where they meet the floors, walls and ceiling. 
  • Remove furniture and rugs from vents to improve air flow and comfort.
  • Apply caulking around door frames and weather-stripping around doors that do not close tightly.
  • If replacing your sliding door, select ENERGY STAR qualified doors instead of regular clear-glass, double-paned doors.
  • Seal any gaps around electrical outlets or light switches on exterior walls with an inexpensive outlet gasket.
Leaks often occur under the door leading from the house to the garage.
  • Install a door sweep to seal the gap between door and threshold to prevent warm air from coming in and cold air from escaping.
The average home loses about 20% of heated or cooled air through leaky, broken and poorly connected ducts. First, make sure ducts are secure and are not dangling or hanging loose. This added pressure on the ducts can create leaks. Once the ducts are secure seal holes, tears and other leaks using duct mastic or metal (foil) tape, not duct tape. Insulate all accessible ducts, such as those in the attic, crawlspace or garage.
FPL provides a $30 duct test which will help identify leaks and provide you with a list of contractors who can help you make repairs

 Roof: Start at the Top


​Lighter roof colors reflect the sun and keep your home cooler.

According to the Florida Solar Energy Center, your best choice for roofing material is a white roof of pitched metal galvalum type which will reflect the sun and reduce space cooling by 20% versus shingles.

Florida Power & Light offers rebates for the installation of roofs that comply with ENERGY STAR standards or the Cool Roof Rating Council's standards.

Qualifying materials include light-colored cement, ceramic tile, or metal roofs. For more information go to the FPL website.

"Energy Efficient Home" series




Seal Around Existing Windows

  • Seal cracks gaps or joints that are less than 1/4" wide with a weatherproof outdoor caulk.
  • The most likely places for energy leaks are at the top of the window and on the sides.
  • Natural settling causes windows to self-seal at the bottom, creating even bigger gaps at the top.
Make Use of Shade
Consider adding exterior shading on the south, east and west sides of your home using properly placed trees, awnings, tinted window film, or solar screens.
Replace Windows
  • If sealing isn't an answer to window leaks or you plan to replace the windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified models designed for the southeast region and save anywhere from $150-$500 per year in energy costs.
  • If you are going to replace windows, it should be done before you replace your air conditioner to reduce the cooling load calculations that determine the size of your AC unit.
  • Better windows could mean that you will need a smaller AC unit system.   

 Energy Saving Checklists

No Cost Checklist.pdfNo CostNo Cost Checklist
Low Cost Checklist.pdfLow Cost Checklist  (<$75)Low Cost Checklist
Moderate Cost Checklist.pdfModerate ($75-600)Moderate Cost Checklist
Investment Checklist.pdfInvestment (>$600)Investment Checklist
inspecting leaks


 In the Attic


​Sealing ducts can help improve indoor air quality by reducing the risk of pollutants and dust entering ducts and circulating through your home, which can aggravate asthma and allergy problems.

The following air sealing and insulation ideas will help keep cooled air where it belongs.

Adequate attic insulation is vital to saving energy. Look across your uncovered attic floor. If the insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists you probably need to add more.

  • NEVER place the insulation so it blocks the flow of air at the eaves.
  • To completely cover your attic floor with insulation out to the eaves you need to install rafter vents (also called insulation baffles).
  • Make a more specific assessment of your attic insulation using a ruler.
  • Measure the depth of the insulation at the attic entry.

FPL recommends that you add insulation if:

  • Your pink or white fiberglass insulation is less than 5 inches
  • Your paper-backed fiberglass insulation is less than 3.5 inches
  • Your grey cellulose insulation is less than 3 inches

Seal Attic Gaps
Seal your attic's air leaks before adding insulation. Cover gaps around chimney and furnace flues with metal flashing and caulk small gaps with high temperature caulk.

  • Weather-strip and insulate your home's attic hatch or door.
  • Use weatherizing materials and insulation or a pre-made attic cover available from local home improvement centers.
Properly Vent the Roof
During the warmest months, air flows into soffit vents and pushes super-heated air up and out through rafter or ridge vents. The insulation will resist heat transfer into the house, and the cooler attic air will reduce moisture build-up.
Radiant Barrier
A radiant barrier is a layer of aluminum placed in an airspace to block radiant heat transfer.
Installation of a radiant barrier will prevent your hot roof from radiating that solar-generated heat to the insulation below it and, subsequently, the ceiling. An aluminum foil radiant barrier blocks 95 percent of the heat radiated down by the roof so it can't reach the insulation.
This program receives funding from the US Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. 

Sarasota County, Florida
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or 1-800-955-8771
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