Causes of High Summer Utility Bills
Weatherstripping and Caulking
- Doors need weatherstripping. Weatherstripping prevents significant air leakage. The crack around all four edges of a standard door is 20 feet long. If the crack is 1/12" wide, the total "hole" size is 20 square inches, roughly the equivalent of a softball-sized hole in the door. If the house is negatively pressured whenever the air conditioner runs because of supply duct leakage, that size hole admits a lot of warm, moist air for the air conditioner to cool and dry.
Choose from a wide variety of weatherstripping materials at local hardware stores and home supply centers. You'll often find good instructions there too, either from staff or from how-to booklets.
- Windows and doors need caulking. Caulking prevents air leakage. This is do-it-yourself work. Caulk is cheap. Applying it is easy, but it takes time. Caulk the cracks in and around window and door frames; cracks where masonry walls meet wood siding or trim; wall penetrations by pipes, meter box, clothes dryer vent or exhaust vents, etc. Some all-purpose caulks are silicon, silicon-acrylic and siliconized acrylic latex.