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A house�s exterior is referred to as the �shell� or �envelope�, which consists of the insulation, outside walls, doors, ceiling, and floors. These factors of the shell work as a team in controlling the airflow that goes into and out of the structure. Other benefits are that they help in preventing heat loss and they repel moisture. When the shell of the home is in peak condition, the benefits are enormous, especially when the outside temperatures are hot or cold.

An excellent way to ensure the shell is operating at its best is to have it sealed. With this, any gaps, holes, cracks, or openings of any type are closed off. That means when the air conditioner is running during the summer and the furnace in the winter, the inside temperature remains consistent. The result is a home that is more comfortable and efficient, and lower utility bills. A professional will work around the home, looking for holes and such, which are most often found in the basement and attic.

Once openings have been identified, caulk, weather stripping, and spray foam is used to seal them. Another way to seal your home is to add or replace insulation. By reducing the amount of heat that filters into the home, you will run the air conditioner less and pay less. When a home has no or insufficient insulation, you can actually feel the exterior and it will feel warm or hot to the touch. Therefore, the walls or �shell� is working harder to protect the home against the elements.

The important thing to remember about insulation is that it will work at optimal performance when the air does not move around or through it. To accomplish this, you want to use the right type and density of insulation for your specific home. Most importantly, make sure the attic is well insulated in that you will lose a tremendous amount of air or heat there. Insulation is sold as cellulose, rigid foam, rock wool, spray foam, or the most common, fiberglass, which is available in batting or can be blown.

If you live in an older home, you actually do not want every single hole closed. The reason for this is that a little bit of outdoor air is not a bad thing. If you do have concerns, regardless of your home�s age, you should contact an energy specialist that can come in with what is called a �blower door� that will help identify leaks and the severity. Once that has been done, the proper seal can be done.
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