How to Check Your Wood Home for Air Leaks

Reduce your utility bill this Winter by checking for air leaks in your home. A few air leaks can cost you many extra dollars per month. The key is to find and seal these air leaks before the super cold weather sets in.  Check out the 3 ways to successfully locate air leaks below.

Energy.gov  recommends first performing a visual inspection. On the outside of your home, make sure to inspect all areas where two different building materials meet including :

  • All exterior corners
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where siding and chimneys meet
  • Areas where the foundation and the bottom of exterior brick or siding meet.

On the inside of your home:

  • Electrical outlets
  • Switch plates
  • Door and window frames
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Baseboards
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners.
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Vents and fans

Easy Do It Yourself Method

Set aside time to locate air leaks on a cool Fall day, when the outside temperature is at least 20 degrees lower than the temperature in your home.

Items you will need:

  • Small bucket of warm waterEnergy Seal Box Logo
  • A piece of chalk
  • A step stool or ladder depending on the height of your ceilings.
  • Caulking material
  • Backer rod
  • Caulking gun
  • Masking tape
  1. Dip your hand in the water and run your wet hand over the interior walls, making sure to keep your hand about 6-12 inches away from the wall surface.
  2.  You will easily feel the cold air if there are leaks in the walls.
  3. Make sure to use this method around doors and windows, as those are often places where air leaks develop.
  4. Mark these areas where you feel cold air with the chalk.
  5. Once you locate leaks, the best way to close up cracks and crevices is from the outside.  Sealing a leak from the outside will prevent further air infiltration as well as water.
  6. The opening source of the leak outside may be several inches from the spot where it is felt inside the home. Continue to seal the area until the person on the inside no longer detects the air leak. For step by step information on sealing areas on log homes see our Energy Seal application page.
  7. In some areas, it may be necessary to use a flexible backing material, see information on backer rod.

Advanced Do It Yourself Methodblue fan

  1. For a more advanced and detailed way of finding leaks, place a box fan in a window or door blowing outward.
  2. Cover the rest of the opening with plastic sheeting. Doing this will draw cold air into your home through the leaks making them easier to find.
  3. Once you have located and marked your leaks, continue on with the steps listed above.

Hire a Professional

Another option for dealing with the air leaks in your home is hiring a professional to locate and caulk the leaks. If you know you have quite a few drafts and leaks to caulk, this may be the most time-efficient option.

With a little patience, time and diligence you can be on your way to utility savings and a warmer house.

Thanks to Perma-Chink Systems, LLC for providing inspiration and reference for this article.

Additional Source:

http://energy.gov/energysaver/air-sealing-your-home

Should You Choose Energy Seal or Perma-Chink?

LogFinish.com is a stocking distributor of Perma-Chink products. The following article was provided to LogFinish.com for re-publication by Perm-Chink Systems, LLC.

Which Log Home Sealant Should I Use?

We are asked this question very frequently about our two biggest selling log home sealants. Both of these sealants were formulated to weatherproof joinery in log and log sided buildings. Our simplest answer is that in general, Perma-Chink should be used in applications where the seam width is one inch or wider and Energy Seal is a better choice in sealant seams that are narrower than one inch or where joinery was not intended to have chinking applied to it. However, this answer is overly simplistic when you consider the variety of log profiles and joinery types and many different surfaces that come together to make up a finished log structure.

What is the Difference?

Log Home Interior Using Perma-Chink®
perma-chink

Perma-Chink is our original log home sealant (and the company namesake). It was formulated to look like the concrete mortar that was typically used on full-log construction at that time. It is the original elastic log home sealant. Today Perma-Chink is available in eight different colors, some of which look like concrete, the others are various wood tones.

Log Home Interior Using Energy Seal™
energy seal

Energy Seal was formulated at the request of our customers at a much later date. These customers had homes that were usually built with log profiles that did not use chinking, but required weatherproofing some time after they were finished and in use. Because the application surfaces were never intended for a sealant application, they don’t have proper geometry that includes a caulking well to allow for sealant and backing material installation. Consequently, we formulated Energy Seal to have higher elongation performance. Energy Seal comes in a wide selection of 12 colors for customers who would prefer to conceal the sealant or even to match the chinking on their log home.

es-pcEnergy Seal is a Better Choice in the Following Situations:

In general, Energy Seal is a better choice for very demanding, narrow seam application where more stretch is required in a narrow sealant seam. It is also the best choice if you would like the sealant to blend in with the wood surface and not be easily seen. Energy Seal is an excellent choice for use in sealing around doors and windows, butt joints, corners, and junctions between log walls and other surfaces such as beams, rooflines or framed walls.

Perma-Chink is a Better Choice When:

Many log homes are designed, manufactured and constructed with chinking an integral part of the building envelope. Perma-Chink is the clear choice in this situation.  Additionally, Perma Chink is ideal to use when sealing up the junction between wood walls and concrete, brick or stone features like fireplaces, stone accents and walls.

Helpful Hints for Winterizing Your Log Home

It’s October, and that means it’s time to winterize your log home. You may have cold weather already, or it could be just around the corner, but taking these simple steps to winterize now means your home will be protected before it gets too cold to bear!

Inspect Your Logs
If you have temperatures above 50 degrees, you can still re-coat your home and decks with stain. Follow-ing recommended maintenance schedules protects the integrity of the wood and enhances the beauty of your home. We recommend washing first with Log Wash for light surface cleaning.
Fill checks in logs, and any gaps around doors, windows, and exterior ventilation openings to prevent moisture infiltration from ice, rain and snow, and to keep indoor heat from escaping. We recommend Energy Seal, and Checkmate 2.

Inspect Your Landscaping
Trim tree branches resting on your roof or hanging too close to power lines. Heavy snow piling up can wreak havoc!
Fall is the perfect time to seal concrete driveways and patios so they hold up to damaging Winter salts and freezing temps. It’s also important to fill cracks while they’re small to prevent spreading. We recommend Seal-Once Concrete & Masonry Waterproof Sealer.
Pulling up a dock or keeping your outdoor wood furniture on the patio? Seal it with a good water-proofer to protect it from harsh elements. We recommend Seal-Once Poly Blend and Seal-Once Marine.

Inspect Your Foundation and Roof
Rake leaves and excess vegetation away from your foundation to keep unwanted critters and wood boring insects at bay. Dry, brittle pine needles are a potential fire hazard. Reduce your risk by clearing them away from your home and off your roof. If you are in an area prone to natural fires, consider protecting your home with a flame retardant. We recommend Flame Seal Wood Seal.

Whether you plan to stay in your log home through the Winter or leave and return in the Spring, properly winterizing protects your home through those cold Winter months and extends its life for many years of enjoyment.

 

Many thanks to LogFinish.com’s, Jennifer Fludd for this fantastic article!

Quick Maintenance Checklist for Your Log Cabin

Take a moment to walk around your home.

Here are some signs that your cabin may need a new coat of stain or caulking/chinking maintenance:

  1. Faded finish on South or West exterior walls
  2. Varying shades on top and bottom of logs
  3. Gray discoloration from weathering
  4. Blonde color around checks and cracks
  5. Gaps between caulking/chinking joints
  6. Presence of mold, mildew or excessive dirt
  7. Cracking,  peeling or flaking of the log finish
  8. Water repellency is an easy way to determine when it’s time to apply a maintenance coat.

To check if the stain on your home is still repelling water, perform the following simple test:

Hose down your home. If the water beads up, you still have good protection and can wait 6-12 months before your next application. If the water soaks into the wood, it’s time to reapply.

 

For more information on all things log cabins, check out our other Log Blog articles, check out www.LogFinish.com, or give us a call @ 1-888-208-2248.  We are here to help!