Updating plumbing in a home

Then tackle the basement to prevent cold air that enters there from being sucked into upstairs rooms. When you consider that many homes have 30 or 40 of these fixtures, it’s easy to see why researchers at the Pennsylvania Housing Research/Resource Center pinpointed them as a leading cause of household air leaks.

Lights labeled ICAT, for “insulation contact and air tight,” are already sealed; look for the label next to the bulb. An airtight baffle ( to ) is a quick, 10-second fix.

But builders in the past often skipped this cover behind knee walls (partial-height walls where the roof angles down into the top floor), above dropped ceilings or soffits, and above angled ceilings over stairs.

Up in the attic, you may need to push insulation away to see if the stud cavities are open.

Nifty gadgets called pulley seals ( a pair) block air from streaming through the holes where cords disappear into the frames. If a draft comes in at the bottom, install a new door sweep (). Wear protective gear: disposable clothes, gloves, and a double-elastic mask or half-face respirator.

Bring along a droplight, plus at least two pieces of plywood big enough to span two or three joists to support you as you work.

To keep insulation away from the hot flue pipe, form a barrier by wrapping a cylinder of flashing around the flue, leaving a 1-inch space in between.

Seal it by caulking between the stair frame and the rough opening, or by installing foam weatherstripping around the perimeter of the hatch opening.A typical family spends about a third of its annual heating and cooling budget -- roughly 0 -- on air that leaks into or out of the house through unintended gaps and cracks.With the money you waste in just one year, you can plug many of those leaks yourself.Use high-temperature caulk around vent pipes that get hot, such as those for the furnace or water heater.Shoot foam around wider holes for wires, pipes, and ducts that pass through basement walls to the outside.

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