Seal up some savings this Presidents Day

The time around President’s Day often marks the beginning of transitioning of seasons. Most of us are preparing to wave goodbye to the blustering cold and welcome the warm sunshine that comes with spring. As you begin preparing for the warm weather ahead, consider finding a little bit of time to tackle a home DIY project.

Here’s one that should only take a couple hours, and cost $3-30 in materials: sealing your air leaks with caulk. It’s the perfect shoulder-season project because it can help you save energy by keeping warm air in when it’s cold outside or keeping the cool air in when summer comes. This simple project can also help you save up to 20 percent in the amount of energy you’ll use to keep your home comfortable year round.

Here is your step-by-step guide courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy. I’m sure George Washington would be very impressed.

  1. For good adhesion, clean all areas to be caulked.
    Remove any old caulk and paint using a putty knife or a large screwdriver. Make sure the area is dry so you won't seal in moisture.
  2. Prep the caulking gun (if you're using one).
    Cut the tip of the cartridge of caulk at a 45-degree angle and insert the tube in the gun. If you’ve never used a caulking gun, take this time to do a “test caulking” on a newspaper or paper towel so you have a good sense of what to expect before taking your project to a more conspicuous door or window.
  3. Hold the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle to the now-dried, clean edge that’s to be filled.
    Using a “pulling” motion, hold the gun at a consistent angle. Slide the tube nozzle along the joint while pulling the trigger of the caulk gun to apply the caulk to desired areas. You know you've got the right angle when the caulk is immediately forced into the crack as it comes out of the tube. Try to avoid stops and starts by caulking in one straight continuous stream.
  4. “Tool” the caulk by pushing it into the crack.
    After you’ve covered 2-3 feet of the surface with a bead of caulk, dampen your finger (or spoon, piece of wood or foam paintbrush if you don’t want the material to touch your hand) and glide over the bead, pushing the caulk into the crack and force the caulk deeper into the crack you’re filling.
  5. Clean up any mistakes or excess caulk with a damp cloth.
    Make sure to take care of any problem areas right away, since dried caulk is much harder to clean up later.
  6. Allow the caulk to dry according to the directions on the package.
    It usually takes about 24 hours for the caulk to fully cure, but it can depend on air temperature and humidity.
For additional tips and information about energy savings, visit Black Hills Energy’s website or visit their blog, Keeping Energy Affordable

Information from Black Hills Energy
February 2017