Crack Bad. Caulk Good.
Despite what you may have heard, I am a good boy. Being environmentally conscientious, I had an energy audit done on my 1939 home last year.
Our home, at the time, rated 35 out of 100. The standard for new homes in Ontario is 75. Our objective is to raise our efficiency to 51. This increases the resale value of our home, and saves us money on utilities.
The audit indicated our attic insulation was worse than a hobo's cardboard box, averaging around R-10. Secondly, some of our original windows were performing poorly, allowing air to escape easily. Thirdly, we had no insulation in our basement which essentially made our basement walls act like a heatsink. Finally, we had airtight issues due to gaps beneath our baseboards plus a massive, Oprah-sized 1" gap under our back door, straight to the outside.
Seriously. That's like leaving a window open all winter, for almost 70 years.
The audit had a deadline of 18 months, and with old man winter already clenching his cheeks and squeezing white shit all over us, it was time I got back to work.
While Suz girled it up by baking a cake, I did guy stuff in our living room. To keep from damaging our 6-inch baseboards, I wrapped a towel around my pry bar and popped off the quarter-round trim. Hidden behind was a large gap. The swell auditor suggested I fill this gap with silicone to stop cold air from creeping in.
Using the palm of my hand I felt a few spots where cold air was coming in. Cold air coming into your house needs to be heated, and therefore causes your furnace to come on more often. To stop this, the gaps needed to be caulked.
I used Mono Ultra interior caulking. It's made in Canada. The type I used comes out white then dries clear, but takes 7 to 14 days to dry properly. It didn't matter to me though, because I knew the quarter-round trim would cover it all up afterwards.
It took me 60 minutes to take off the trim and fill the cracks along the two exterior walls of our living room.
As for the door gap, we had our back door replaced with a steel French door that has a modern-type airtight seal. This was probably our biggest problem and hopefully will make a big difference when we have our house re-tested.
Energy Audits are a wise decision. Even in new homes, they can indicate where something wasn't done properly and show you where you can save money. I would recommend it to anyone. If you're in the Toronto or southern Ontario area, I would strongly recommend the friendly, expert folks at Energuy.