Air Sealing

4 Pack – Commercial Electric 5 in. and 6 in. White Recessed LED Light. Really nice bulbs for a nice price. 90 CRI. Be sure to get the 2700K color temperature.

Two part closed cell spray foam is hands down the most effective air sealant we know of. If you just have rim joists, a crawl space, or another smallish space, this could be a fit. If you have a lot more than this, hire someone. This stuff is finicky, be sure it’s warm enough and read the directions. You’re unlikely to find it under $650-700. 200 board foot kits are about $300, some big boxes carry them.

CREE warm white 2700K recessed light retrofit kit. Elegant solution for leaky & tough to seal recessed lights. Replaces the bulb and the trim ring. The bulbs themselves save a ton of energy, and if you caulk them they create an air seal. You don’t have to go in the attic. They should last for 20+ years. Look for 2700K color temperature if you want the light to be like it was. They’re $20 at big boxes. I’ve had good luck with Cree products.

Chimney Lock Top 09507 is good seal for frequently used fireplaces. They’re a bit tricky to install and get a good seal, so fair warning. A cable runs through the flue from the top to the fireplace so you can open and close it. Check the size you need.

A Wizard Stick is a simple smoker. This is what I use for testing for air leaks (besides my hand and an infrared camera.) If you have a powerful range hood, it could act like a blower door and you can use this to find leaks.

AM Conservation Group, Inc. KC600W-84 Simply Conserve White 84-Inch Door Weatherstrip Kit. If you have an old leaky door, this will give you a modern weather strip on it. Where the old school ones with a tiny bulb were impossible to get to seal, these are pretty easy. They are flexible enough you can bend them to fit a warped door. Caulk where the aluminum touches the doorframe, they still leak behind the aluminum strip. Be sure to buy a sweep for the bottom, too, and put it on the same side as this door seal.

If you have pull down stairs, this is by far my favorite solution. With a tube of caulk you can get a good air seal. It doesn’t have much R-value, but you can staple insulation to the top. The air seal is the important part. I have one in my house. There are different sizes, this is the most common one.

Covalence Plastics 6ML BLK 12X100 12-by-100-Foot 6-Millimeter Black Tyco Polyethylene Plastic Sheeting. If you have a crawlspace to encapsulate, you want to put a vapor barrier down first. I’ve heard that black plastic lasts longer. Use 6 mil (6 millimeter thick) or thicker material. Amazon doesn’t sell thicker stuff that I could find. 

Dryer vents are surprisingly leaky, especially when they get partially clogged. Check if your dryer is cold on a chilly day or toasty on a warm one. This vent seals nicely and is easy to clean out. I have one on my house, here is my photo album of the install along with videos of the installation.

Duct mastic is a fast way to seal gaps in duct work. Put it on nickel thick. I put a rubber glove on, then a cotton glove on top, then smear it on. Cheap paint brushes work fine too. RCD brand is known as the gold standard. Buy an extra, go heavy. Don’t let this stuff freeze. Big boxes carry it near the duct work.

These will do a very good job preventing windwashing, if installed well. Only install them AFTER sealing top plates. They are difficult to install, not recommended for low slope roofs.

M-D Building Products 71548 Replaceable Cord Weatherstrip, 90 Feet, Gray. Commonly known as “rope caulk”, this is great for sealing holes that you want to unseal later, such as at the sashes of old windows that you want to close up for the winter, but reopen in the summer. Big boxes carry this product. It’s worth having a box around during a project.