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Red River Valley REA
Tuesday April 8th, 2014 :: 10:03 a.m. CDT


Insulate or Caulk - When, Why and Where?

Air Leaks and Insulation
Improving your home’s insulation and sealing air leaks are the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy waste and make the most of your energy dollars. Be sure to seal air leaks before you insulate, because insulating materials won’t block leaks.

Air Leaks
Air leaks can waste a lot of your energy dollars. One of the quickest energy- and money-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weather strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside.

Test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, carefully hold a lit incense stick or a smoke pen next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other places where air may leak. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weather-stripping.

Inspect dryer vents and chimney flues. While dryer vents must be cleared of any obstruction, chimney flues – on the other hand - should be sealed tightly when not in use.

Insulation is made from a variety of materials, and it usually comes in four types: rolls and batts, loose-fill, rigid foam, and foam-in-place.

What Type Insulation Does My Home Need? The type of insulation you should choose depends on how you will use it and on your budget. While closed-cell foam has a greater R-value and provides stronger resistance against moisture and air leakage, the material is also much denser and is more expensive to install. Open-cell foam is lighter and less expensive but should not be used below ground level where it could absorb water. Consult a professional insulation installer to decide what type of insulation is best for you.

How Much Insulation Does My Home Need? For insulation recommendations tailored to your home, visit the Department of Energy (DOE) Zip Code Insulation Calculator at

Image #1 - Sources of Air Leaks in Your Home
Areas that leak air into and out of your home cost you a lot of money. The areas listed in the illustration are the most common sources of air leaks.
Image #2 - Where to Insulate
Adding insulation in the areas shown here may be the best way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Insulate either the attic floor or under the roof. Check with a contractor about crawl space or basement insulation.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy • DOE/GO-102011-3291 • December 2011

Red River Valley REA
8574 OK-32
Marietta, OK 73448

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 800-749-3364

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