Insulating your home is critical to keeping energy costs under control, as cooling and heating expenses can quickly grow if waste is permitted. Though most homeowners understand the need to cover exposed areas in their attics and between walls with insulation, relatively small areas are easy to overlook.
With that in mind, homeowners should invest time in insulating these uncovered areas. Some of the common trouble spots include penetrations into the home through walls. For example, the refrigerant hoses of the central air conditioning systems route from the outdoor unit through the nearest exterior wall.
Fortunately insulating these areas isn't tricky, and most homeowners can tackle the task with minimal investment in materials and time. Below are the materials you will need as well as a guide to insulating these vulnerable areas.
- Spray Foam Insulation - Available in aerosol cans, spray foam insulation, is versatile and can be used in a variety of settings.
- Rubber Hose Boot - This inexpensive component is designed to fit around penetrating pipes and hoses and can sized with a pair of scissors.
- Silicone Adhesive - Any type of silicone adhesive rated for outdoor use will suffice, but be sure that what you purchase is waterproof.
- Installation Tools - To complete the installation, you will also need a caulk gun, scissors, utility knife, needle nose pliers, household spray cleaner, paper towels and a pair of gloves.
1. Remove old putty or other materials - It's not uncommon to find that the installer sealed the opening around the pipes, hoses or wiring with putty or some other stop-gap measure, but these materials aren't satisfactory for permanent use. The lifespans of these materials are limited and will need to be removed before attempting to install permanent insulation.
To remove the old insulating material, use a utility knife to cut up the material and remove the pieces with a pair of needle nose pliers. Be careful when using the utility knife and pliers to avoid cutting or pinching hoses or electrical lines.
2. Clean the surrounding area - Once you have removed all the putty or other materials used as temporary measures, the next step is to clean the surrounding area carefully. The presence of dirt, adhesive remnants, oil or other contaminants can prevent the new insulation from adhering and forming a tight seal.
Spray the area with a household cleaner and allow it to soak for a few minutes to loosen stubborn residues. Next, wipe away the gunk with paper towels and allow the area to dry before proceeding.
3. Cut the rubber boot to size - After the area surrounding the penetrating hose, pipe or wiring has been cleared and cleaned, the next step in the process is to cut the rubber boot to the appropriate size. Carefully cut the boot to fit the location, but avoid trimming too much material away from the margins.
Once you have trimmed the boot's outline, cut a slit down one side of the boot and slip it over the penetrating objects to test its fit. Make any fine adjustments as needed to ensure the boot will fit neatly.
4. Mount the rubber boot and seal gaps - When the boot is cut to size and ready to mount, use a caulk gun to apply silicone adhesive around the perimeter of the back of the boot. Next, push the boot back into position and align it until it is evenly aligned. You may need to hold the boot in place for a few minutes to allow time for the adhesive to set.
After the silicone adhesive has dried, the last step is to insert spray foam insulation into the remaining gaps inside the center of the rubber boot and any other openings. Be sure to read the directions provided by the spray foam insulation manufacturer before use, and also avoid spraying too much foam. It will expand and could distort or dislodge the boot from its position.
If you have questions about insulating your home, be sure to contact Insulation Pros for help. They are ready to assist you in making sure your home is sealed and protected from energy loss.