A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a correctly sealed one. Knowing how to uncover air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when necessary can help you establish a comfortable living environment and decrease your energy bills.
Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home
Initiate your air leak inspection on the interior. Here are four reliable techniques for finding air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a detailed 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 areas on a cold or windy day. If you believe there is a draft, you’ve found an air leak.
- Perform the smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it around the edges of windows, doors and other potential leaky areas. If an air leak exists, the smoke will blow around or get sucked through the gap, showing the site of the leak. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when conducted on a windy day.
- Utilize an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to find temperature differences in your home. These devices help you locate locations with major temperature variations, which often signify air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Studying the exterior structure can also uncover potential leaks. Here are two tips for detecting air leaks from the outside:
- Conduct a visual inspection, paying close attention to corners and places where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could lead to air leaks, as well as worn caulk or weatherstripping and poorly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Do 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 really should feel cold air or moisture coming through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After pinpointing serious air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the best methods for sealing air leaks in your home:
- Use caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is getting out of the home. Choose a high-quality, long-lasting caulk intended for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you are trying to seal to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s details for the best application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Various types of weatherstripping are on the market, examples include adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Select the proper style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam comes in a can with a spray applicator for quick application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you use them carefully.
- Add insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further reduce heat transfer. Even if you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where your current level is inadequate.
- Add door sweeps along the bottom of outside doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and styles to fit your desires and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is useful 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 includes 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 show leaks more clearly.
- Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor detect temperature discrepancies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen air leaks and insulation inadequacies.
- A combustion safety test ensures your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and efficiently, reducing the risk of potentially harmful carbon monoxide buildup.
- A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort challenges to spot additional energy-saving opportunities.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While carrying out your own air leak tests is a great jumping off point, working 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 efficiency and comfort.