Updating plumbing in a home

It’s among the most cost-effective things you can do to conserve energy and increase comfort, according to Energy Star.

Start in the attic, since that’s where you’ll find some of the biggest energy drains. Most recessed lights have vents that open into the attic, a direct route for heated or cooled air to escape.

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.

To maintain the spacing, cut and bend a series of inch-deep tabs in the cylinder’s top and bottom edges.

A 1/4-inch gap around pull-down attic stairs or an attic hatch lets through the same amount of air as a bedroom’s heating duct.

Seal those with the same materials you’d use in an attic: caulk for gaps up to 1/4-inch wide and spray foam for wider ones.In most older houses with basements, air seeps in where the house framing sits on the foundation.Spread a bead of caulk between the foundation and the sill plate (the wood immediately above the foundation), and along the top and bottom edges of the rim joist (the piece that sits atop the sill plate).In the main living areas of your home, the most significant drafts tend to occur around windows and doors.If you have old windows, caulking and adding new weatherstripping goes a long way toward tightening them up.

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