When the topic is leaky basements, one usually thinks of water coming through the foundation and causing a flood. But basements that leak air can be a problem too if you have central air conditioning. When you’re paying to cool your home, a leaky basement will allow cool air to escape. This is like throwing away money. It also places a higher demand on your air conditioner, forcing it to work overtime to cool the home, shortening its lifespan, and increasing repair costs.
The best way to determine if you have leaks and where they are located is through an energy audit. Professional cooling technicians utilize heat-detecting radar technology to uncover active air leaks, which cannot be seen.
Older homes in particular are susceptible to air leaks where the foundation and house framing meet, below the sill plate, and along the rim joists. Cracks in the foundation’s masonry and gaps where pipes penetrate the foundation are also common.
Sealing Basement Leaks
Small cracks in masonry, and between masonry and wood framing, can be sealed with caulk. Acrylic latex caulk is economical and easy to clean up. Silicone caulk is a little pricier but is a good choice when sealing nonporous materials. High-temperature caulk should be used around furnace or water heater pipes that get very hot.
For large cracks in masonry, use mortar to support to the framing above.
Where pipes run through the masonry, the gaps may be too large for caulking, but you don’t want to lock them in place with cement or mortar, because you need to allow for the expansion and contraction of the pipe caused by temperature variation. A common choice for this – but a poor one – is fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass is great for installing inside exterior walls and in attics to make a home cozier, it’s not a great choice for sealing gaps to the outside, because it can trap moisture. This can promote the growth of mold that could cause health problems for those who reside in the house. Instead, use low-expansion closed-cell polyurethane spray foam. It is easily applied, adheres to lots of different materials, and establishes a water- and air-tight barrier.
Keep Cool with Ambient Comfort
If you suspect you have leaky basement that is compromising the efficiency of your home’s cooling system, call the professionals at Ambient Comfort today. We provide emergency services in South Jersey. We will help you keep your cool!
Contact Ambient Comfort in Vineland, New Jersey, for service: 856-213-6586. We provide emergency services in South Jersey.