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Many companies in the Greater Kansas City area have met the minimum requirements to perform HOME PERFORMANCE with ENERGY STAR assessments (energy audits).


Additionally, some members practice specific trades. Contact any of these professionals to start improving your home’s comfort and energy efficiency and begin cutting your energy costs.


Tips to improve your home and lower your energy bill

A common area of air leakage in the basement is along the top of the basement wall where cement or block comes in contact with the wood frame. These leaks can easily be fixed in portions of the basement that are unfinished. Since the top of the wall is above ground, outside air can be drawn in through cracks and gaps where the house framing sits on top of the foundation. This perimeter framing is called the rim (or band) joist. In the basement, the above-floor joists end at the rim joist creating multiple cavities along the length of the wall, and many opportunities for leakage.



What you need

Silicone or acrylic latex caulk and caulk gun
High-temperature caulk (to seal cracks around the furnace flue)
Expanding spray foam insulation (to seal larger areas)



what to do


Although you may not be able to see cracks in the rim joist cavities, it is best to seal up the top and bottom of the inside of the cavity. Caulk is best for sealing gaps or cracks that are one-quarter inch or less. Use spray foam to fill gaps from one-quarter inch to about three inches. It is also recommend you seal penetrations that go through the basement ceiling to the floor above. Generally, these are holes for wires, water supply pipes, water drain pipes, the plumbing vent stack (for venting sewer gases), and the furnace flue (for venting furnace exhaust).

When sealing the furnace flue (which will be encased in a metal sleeve) run a bead of high-temperature caulk around the pipe sleeve and around the metal frame.



Learn More


Materials that could be damaged by moisture, such as fiberglass batting and cellulose, should never be used to insulate a basement. Interior vapor barriers can also be very damaging because they prevent basements from drying on the inside. Interior basement insulation should start with rigid foam installed against the basement walls. If you are considering finishing your basement and using it as a living space, seek the advice of an experienced professional.




Energy Star DIY Guide, May 2008

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