A leaky house is dramatically less energy efficient than a correctly sealed one. Being familiar with how to detect air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when necessary can help you establish a comfy living environment and reduce your energy bills.
Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home
Begin your air leak inspection on the interior. Here are four reliable ways for looking for air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a detailed 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 believe there is a draft, you’ve uncovered an air leak.
- Perform the 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 occurring in this location, the smoke will blow around or get sucked through the gap, showing the leak’s location. The smoke test is most effective when done on a windy day.
- Use an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to detect temperature differences around your home. This equipment will help you identify sections of your home with major temperature variations, which often signify air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Inspecting the home's outdoor structure can also uncover potential leaks. Here are two methods for discovering air leaks from the outside:
- Do a visual inspection, paying close attention to corners and locations where different materials meet. Look for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as deteriorated caulk or weatherstripping and improperly 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 building's exterior while another person stands inside close to a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside really should feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After identifying major air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the most beneficial methods for sealing air leaks in your home:
- Apply caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is leaking out. 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 directions for correct application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Various types of weatherstripping are available, including adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Pick the proper style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is sold in a can with a spray applicator for simple application in hard-to-reach areas. Wear protective gloves and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure safe use.
- Install insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further minimize 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 sold in various materials and designs to meet your desires and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is invaluable for identifying sneaky air leaks and identifying areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor does this inspection, which involves the following:
- A blower door test involves setting up a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air from the house, lowering the indoor 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 discrepancies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden air leaks and insulation inadequacies.
- A combustion safety test makes certain your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and efficiently, lowering the risk of potentially dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.
- A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort issues to identify additional energy-saving options.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While carrying out your own air leak tests is an excellent launching 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 personalized solutions to maximize efficiency and comfort.