The Big Payback for Air Sealing Our Home
I was not sure if my recent focus on air sealing our home was going to be really worth all the effort. Sure, the monetary investment has been very small (about ~$20 for caulk and Great Stuff expansion foam) so there was a great deal of confidence on my part that I would save that in heating/cooling costs in the next couple of years.
However I have spent many hours of my time in almost every nook and cranny of our house looking for opportunities to reduce and eliminate air leaks in our house. To be honest I wasn't very confident that if I translated those hours to an hourly wage that I would really see a great payoff.
That all changed during last weekend as I was using up the last bit of an expansion foam can on a sewer drain pipe for our kitchen sink in the crawlspace. It didn't hit me right away, but a few hours later I started thinking about the HVAC duct also located in the same area at the base of the kitchen cabinets. I took off the vent cover and discovered a major air leak.
It turns out the HVAC duct just forced conditioned air to our kitchen floor where it ended like any other floor vent. Our kitchen cabinets were placed on top of the floor and the conditioned air needed to travel between the floor and the bottom of the kitchen cabinets until it escaped. It turns out that the water lines and drain pipe all travel through this same void space and their floor openings have been allowing the forced conditioned air to go directly into our crawlspace even before it gets into our home. Talk about wasted energy!
As you can see from the picture I quickly used an additional can of Great Stuff expansion foam sealing the gaps in the floor opening as well as the gap at the cabinet bottom on the water lines as well as the drain pipe.
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