DIY tips to keep your homes cool & pest-free this summer

| by Gary Parsons
DIY tips to keep your homes cool & pest-free this summer

As temperatures are starting to rise, now is the perfect time to “summer proof” your home. Just as important as winter-proofing, there are several straight forward DIY projects that will quickly provide a tangible return on investment and help keep seasonal pests and dust out, cool-air in and energy costs down this summer.

Beating the Heat

During the summer when temperatures are scorching, homeowners tend to crank up their air conditioners in an effort to stay cool. But, is all the cool air staying inside your house?

A mid-sized home has on average more than a half mile of gaps and cracks throughout the home, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) homeowners can typically save up to 20 percent on home energy costs by air sealing and insulating.

Starting with the basement, which is one of the largest air leakage culprits in the home and often the most accessible, homeowners can use GREAT STUFF™ Gaps & Cracks for air sealing any small gaps and penetrations:

  • Sill Plate: Most homes have a gap in the basement where the pressure-treated wood sill plates rests on top of the concrete foundation. If you have an unfinished basement, these gaps will be visible and easily accessible and if you have a finished basement, you will need to remove the ceiling tiles to see the gaps. By filling the gaps, you will prevent air from seeping in and out.
  • Rim Joist: This is inside of the area where the exterior siding typically ends, making it a primary source of air infiltration into the house. Seal the four intersecting edges of each rim joist “box” as well as all wires and pipes that penetrate the rim joist to fix a major source of air leakage. If you have an old house with diagonal plank subfloor, make sure you seal between each plank as this crack leads to the outside.
  • HVAC Systems: Your air conditioning system setup might be doing more than just cooling your house. It might be an air-infiltration culprit. Help keep the cold air in by sealing around all duct penetrations.*

Avoid Getting “Bugged Out” this Season

As it gets warmer, you are likely enjoying more outdoor activities while many seasonal pests like to find their way inside your home. To help ward off those uninvited guests, homeowners may want to think about a few simple DIY solutions that can help seal out pests and seal in peace-of-mind, comfort and savings.

GREAT STUFF™ Pestblock Insulating Foam Sealant is specifically designed to help prevent critters and bugs from entering the home by expanding to fill, seal and insulate gaps up to one inch, forming a long-lasting, airtight and water-resistant barrier. It also contains a bitter ingredient rather than pesticides to discourage pests from penetrating the foam.

To get started, homeowners can use GREAT STUFF™ Pestblock to fill holes, gaps and cracks around basement foundations, electrical outlets, plumbing lines, under siding and around exterior faucets to prevent pest entry into the home. A few additional DIY projects using GREAT STUFF™ Pestblock include: 

  • Water Hose Bib: While it is convenient for car washes and lawn care, the hose bib not only lets water out, but may be letting air or pests in! Be sure to spray around the spout on the exterior of your house to prevent unwanted visitors. You can usually seal this from the inside while you’re sealing the rim joist area of the basement.
  • Dryer Vent: The laundry vent is one of the easiest fixes to prevent pest entry and energy loss. Seal up the gap around the dryer vent to keep unconditioned air and bugs from entering your home.
  • Plumbing: While plumbing pipes may be hidden behind or under a sink, it doesn’t mean that the pipe penetrations aren’t allowing bugs and unwanted air into the house. Check for holes and seal where the pipes enter from the floor or wall. 

These are just some easy DIY projects to help you stay cool and comfortable this summer. For more extensive upgrades, professionals can conduct a home energy assessment to identify additional areas within your home to help boost its energy efficient performance throughout the year.

For some entertaining inspiration on staying cool and bug free this summer, check out this Pestblock commercial; and for instructional how-to videos on using GREAT STUFF™ visit

GREAT STUFF™ is available wherever sealants are sold. Click here to find the closest store to you.

*Consult label and Material Safety Data Sheet carefully before use.

After any home sealing project, have a heating and cooling technician check to make sure that your combustion appliances (gas- or oil-fired furnace, water heater and dryer) are venting properly. For additional information on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues related to homes, such as combustion safety, visit EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Web site.

Topics: Foundations, Insulation, Maintenance & Repair

Companies: Dow Building Solutions

Gary Parsons
Gary Parsons is the Lead Building Scientist in Dow Building Solutions Research and Development. He is a LEED Accredited Professional, a licensed residential contractor in the state of Michigan, a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and a member of ASHRAE. wwwView Gary Parsons's profile on LinkedIn

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