A leaky house is considerably less energy efficient than a correctly sealed one. Knowing how to detect air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when needed can help you create a comfy living environment and lower your energy bills.
Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home
Start your air leak inspection on the inside. Here are four effective methods for finding air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a comprehensive visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks in and around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay extra attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can often be found there.
- Place your hand near potentially leaky areas on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve discovered an air leak.
- Do a smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it around the edges of windows, doors and other potential problem areas. If an air leak is present, the smoke will blow around or get sucked through the gap, exposing the site of the leak. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when done on a windy day.
- Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences around your home. These tools help you locate areas with major temperature variations, which often signify air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Inspecting the outer structure can also expose potential leaks. Here are two strategies for detecting air leaks from the outside:
- Do a visual examination, paying close attention to corners and locations where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and improperly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Do the garden hose test on a colder day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the exterior while another person stands inside near a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside really should feel cold air or moisture getting into through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After pinpointing serious air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the most beneficial strategies for sealing air leaks in your home:
- Utilize caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is getting out of the home. Select a quality, long-lasting caulk created for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you are trying to seal to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Different kinds of weatherstripping are sold in stores, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Select the ideal style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal larger gaps and holes. Expanding foam comes in a can with a spray applicator for easy application in hard-to-reach places. Wear protective gloves and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe use.
- Apply insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further reduce heat transfer. Whether or not you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where you need more.
- Install door sweeps along the bottom of outside doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are offered in various materials and designs to fit your requirements and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is valuable for finding concealed air leaks and identifying areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor does this inspection, which involves the following:
- A blower door test includes setting up a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air from the house, lowering the interior air pressure and sucking outside air through unsealed openings. This test measures your home’s air tightness and makes thermal camera images show leaks more clearly.
- Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor locate temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden air leaks and insulation inadequacies.
- A combustion safety test makes sure your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and efficiently, lowering the risk of potentially harmful carbon monoxide buildup.
- A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor discusses your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort issues to identify additional energy-saving possibilities.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While performing your own air leak tests is a great starting point, partnering with a professional is far more thorough. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you improve your home’s air tightness with a comprehensive home energy assessment and customized solutions to boost performance and comfort.