Good bead of caulk can keep home heating bills down

Home-building experts and do-it-yourselfers swear by caulk.

Like WD-40, silicone caulk is one of those home survival products that no modern-day toolbox is without.

The main reason for caulk’s popularity? Sealing your home’s windows and doors against air leaks will reduce your energy bills.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that when homeowners reduce their air leaks by caulking, they can save up to 10 percent on home energy bills.

Caulk can also prevent mold and water damage, keep out bugs and reduce outside noise, and keep the humidity at livable levels.

So whether you’re a novice to caulking or need a refresher on how to do it, the General Electric Co. website gives a five-step process that’s easy and worth the minimal investment of some time:

1: Buy 100 percent silicone caulk. Don’t buy acrylic caulk, which will crack and leak over time.

2: Clean the surface. Use a wire brush or caulk-removing tool to clear the area of old caulk and dirt, and then wipe clean. You can also apply masking tape for a straight edge.

3: Insert cartridge: Cut the nozzle of the caulk tube to the desired bead size and insert the cartridge into the caulking gun. Squeeze the trigger, using even pressure, to apply the caulk along cracks and spaces inside and outside the house.

4: Smooth the caulk seal with your finger or a wet caulk-smoothing tool two to five minutes after application.

5: Store the tube and clean up. Replace the cap on the caulk tube or let the caulking material dry out at the tip and form a natural plug you squeeze out to use it again. Clean the area around the caulk using mineral spirits.

The GE website also provides some cool ways to test whether you’ve done a good job of sealing.

One of the methods is the dollar bill test. Place a dollar bill between the doorjamb or between the window sash and sill. If you can easily remove the dollar when the door or window is closed, you have not successfully sealed the leak.

To check out the GE website, go to

Another good website for a successful caulking job is It offers these tips:

Cut the tip of the tube to the smallest amount you think you need. You can make the hole larger but you can’t make it smaller again.

Don’t use a nail to plug the nozzle when you’re done. Let the caulking material dry out at the tip and form a natural plug you squeeze out to use it again.

Don’t try to caulk the entire door jamb at once. Smooth it out as you go. Caulking skins over quickly and then you can’t smooth it out properly.

Don’t rely on caulking to fill nail holes. It shrinks too much and will show in your finished job. Use spackling compound instead.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;

More in Herald Business Journal

Amazon lists 20 finalists for HQ2, and no, we aren’t on it

Los Angeles was the only West Coast city listed. They seem to like the nation’s capital.

Strange and wonderful creatures come through door of Bothell clinic

At the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine, vets treat snakes, hedgehogs and even kangaroos.

Emirates orders 20 more Airbus A380 jumbos, saving program

The Dubai carrier also has options to buy 16 more. The program seems safe until 2029.

How do you retrieve an errant Boeing 737 from a muddy slope?

Turkish authorities used cranes to lift a plane that skidded off a runway.

Amanda Strong (left) tries on an Angel of the Winds Arena hat as she and Courtney Brown hand out gift bags after the renaming ceremony Dec. 13 in Everett. The new name replaces the Xfinity name. (Andy Bronson / Her file)
Angel of the Winds to break ground on $60M casino expansion

“We think we’re on the cusp of becoming a major resort.”

House passes bill aimed at lowering gender wage gap

The bill would hinder employers from retaliating against female workers who ask about others’ pay.

Planemaker joins forces with auto-industry supplier Adient

The new venture poses a threat to Zodiac Aerospace and Rockwell Collins

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Glitches slow Boeing, SpaceX plans for human spaceflight

Boeing has an issue with its abort system that may cause the spacecraft to “tumble.”

Most Read