A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a correctly sealed one. Understanding how to find air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when necessary can help you create a comfy living environment and decrease your energy bills.
Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home
Initiate your air leak inspection on the inside. Here are four successful ways for finding air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a thorough visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks in and around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay particular attention to the corners of rooms, as gaps can often be found there.
- Place your hand around potentially leaky locations on a cold or windy day. If you believe there is a draft, you’ve discovered an air leak.
- Complete a smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it near the edges of windows, doors and other potential problem areas. If an air leak is present, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, showing the location of a leak. The smoke test is more effective when done on a windy day.
- Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in your home. This equipment will help you locate rooms with major temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Examining the home's outdoor structure can also expose potential leaks. Here are two strategies for detecting air leaks from the outside:
- Do a visual inspection, paying close attention to corners and places where different materials meet. Search for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Conduct the garden hose test on a chilly day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the exterior while another person stands inside where there is a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside should feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After identifying significant air leaks, it’s time to deal with the issue. Here are the most effective strategies for sealing air leaks in your home:
- Use caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is leaking out. Choose a quality, long-lasting caulk intended for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you're using to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for correct application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Different kinds of weatherstripping are on the market, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Pick the appropriate style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal larger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is sold in a can with a spray applicator for easy application in hard-to-reach places. Wear protective gloves and stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure safe use.
- Apply insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further cut down on heat transfer. Even if you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where you need more.
- Put door sweeps along the bottom of external doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are made in various materials and styles to fit your requirements and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is invaluable for spotting sneaky air leaks and identifying areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor performs this inspection, which involves the following:
- A blower door test involves putting in a temporary door with a sturdy fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air from the house, lowering the indoor air pressure and drawing in outside air through unsealed openings. This test measures your home’s air tightness and makes thermal camera images more pronounced.
- Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor detect temperature discrepancies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen air leaks and insulation gaps.
- A combustion safety test makes sure your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and correctly, decreasing the risk of potentially deadly carbon monoxide buildup.
- A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort obstacles to identify additional energy-saving possibilities.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While doing your own air leak tests is a great launching point, talking everything over with a professional is far more thorough. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you improve your home’s air tightness with a detailed home energy assessment and personalized solutions to enhance performance and comfort.