A leaky house is considerably less energy efficient than a properly sealed one. Knowing how to find air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when warranted can help you establish a relaxing 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 effective techniques for finding air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a comprehensive visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay special attention to the corners of rooms, given that gaps can frequently be found there.
- Hold your hand close to potentially leaky locations on a cold or windy day. If you believe there is a draft, you’ve uncovered an air leak.
- Complete a smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it all around the edges of windows, doors and other potential problem areas. If an air leak exists, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, revealing the leak’s location. The smoke test is more effective when carried out on a windy day.
- Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in your home. These devices help you detect locations with major temperature variations, which often signify air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Examining the home's outdoor structure can also uncover potential leaks. Here are two strategies for detecting air leaks from the outside:
- Perform a visual inspection, paying close attention to corners and areas where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as worn caulk or weatherstripping and improperly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Do the garden hose test on a cool day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the building's exterior while another person stands inside where there is a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside ought to feel cold air or moisture coming through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After pinpointing major air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the most beneficial 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 escaping. Choose a top-quality, long-lasting caulk designed for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you're using to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s details 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, including adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Choose the appropriate style for your needs and follow the installation guidelines.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is available in a can with a spray applicator for simple application in hard-to-reach areas. Wear protective gloves and adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you stay safe.
- Install insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further minimize heat transfer. Whether or not you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where your current level is inadequate.
- Install door sweeps along the bottom of external doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and designs to suit your requirements and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is valuable for identifying concealed air leaks and pinpointing areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor carries out this inspection, which includes the following:
- A blower door test involves setting up a temporary door with a powerful 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 more pronounced.
- Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor detect temperature inconsistencies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden air leaks and insulation gaps.
- A combustion safety test ensures 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 learn additional energy-saving options.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While carrying out your own air leak tests is an excellent 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 detailed home energy assessment and tailored solutions to enhance effectiveness and comfort.