SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Whenwinter weather starts to set in, owners of vintage and older homes and businesses are the ones who feel the cool air coming in first.
“The key to making a home or other building more thermally efficient and comfortable in cold weather is to limit the opportunities for these losses,” says Gabriel Carini, an Alpine and San Diego heating repair expert.

There are two major ways buildings lose heat: conduction and infiltration. Conduction is heat transfer through materials, and infiltration means air is moving through cracks and joints. These are the areas to focus on when working to weatherize a home.

Many of these fixes do not require specialized skills or expensive materials, just a commitment of time, energy and some basic supplies available at local hardware stores, according to the owner of Carini Heating, Air and Plumbing.

Caulk Window and Door Frames
Caulking around window and door frames, paying special attention to where trim meets shingles or clapboards, creates a barrier against air and water infiltration.Joints between building materials, where wood meets stone for example, are another area to target with the caulking gun.

“The goal is to improve what’s called the building envelope, sealing up joints and gaps where the weather can penetrate,” says Carini, a heating  air conditioning and ventilation expert.

Using the appropriate type of caulking and avoiding moisture vapor exits are essential. The undersides of windows and doorsor where clapboards overlap are examples of “moisture vapor exits.” Carini recommends using good-quality acrylic-latex caulk for areas that are going to be painted.

Address The Foundation
Masonry settles and wood swells or shrinks depending on temperature. Over time, homes’ foundations are often impacted by this subtle shifting and may crack or gap. These types of issues are common but should be fixed before a homeowner tries to seal up air leaks with caulking.

Replace or Install Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping seals air leaks around movable joints, such as windows or doors. It can be made from a wide variety of materials, including felt, foam, vinyl, rubber and metal.
“If you don’t already have weatherstripping, do some research to find out the best material for your home and install it,” says Carini. “Inspect existing weatherstrips for bent or missing sections and repair.”
When done correctly, this is effective for eliminating or drastically reducing drafts, as well as cutting down on your heating and cooling costs.

Put A Damper On Heat Loss
“Check the fireplace damper,” says Carini. “It sounds basic, but it is easy to forget. “Most fireplaces have a built-in damper that closes off the flue and limits heat loss when the fireplace is not in use. Make sure the damper is not damaged by age or stuck due to debris.

Insulate Unheated Crawlspaces
Properly insulating crawl spaces, used in combination with air sealing and controlling moisture, will save on your energy costs and increase the comfort of your home.The method for insulating a crawl space depends on whether the area is ventilated or unventilated.
“This is a more involved project and care should be taken so that the insulation installed does not create unhealthy or hazardous conditions in or around the home,” says Carini, an Alpine air conditioning repair professional.

Don’t Forget To Look Up
Wherever there are penetrations like pipes, vents, hatches, recessed lights or cracks, there is an easy avenue for air movement, so focus efforts on closing those penetrations. Larger penetrations can be closed off with plywood or wallboard. Smaller penetrations, such as joints and cracks, should be sealed with caulking suited for the type of material and area.