A leaky house is dramatically less energy efficient than a tightly sealed one. Understanding how to uncover air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when necessary can help you maintain a comfy living environment and reduce your energy bills.
Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home
Begin your air leak inspection on the inside of your home. Here are four reliable techniques for locating air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a detailed visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks on or near windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay extra attention to the corners of rooms, as gaps can commonly be found there.
- Hold your hand close to potentially leaky places 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 leaky areas. If an air leak is occurring in this location, the smoke will blow around or get sucked into the gap, revealing the site of the leak. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when carried out on a windy day.
- Use an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to detect temperature differences around your home. These tools help you detect locations with significant 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 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 deteriorated caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly 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 outside of the house 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 getting into through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After pinpointing major air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the most effective 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 escaping. Decide on a quality, long-lasting caulk designed for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials in question to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. A variety of of weatherstripping are sold in stores, examples include adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Select the appropriate style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam comes in a can with a spray applicator for easy application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure safe use.
- Install insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further minimize heat transfer. Even when you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where it’s currently lacking.
- Add door sweeps along the bottom of external doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are available in various materials and designs to fit your needs and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is valuable for spotting hidden air leaks and pinpointing areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor does this inspection, which involves the following:
- A blower door test involves installing a temporary door with a sturdy fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air away 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 easier to read.
- Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor detect temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing invisible air leaks and insulation gaps.
- A combustion safety test makes certain your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and correctly, reducing the risk of potentially harmful carbon monoxide buildup.
- A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor looks at your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort obstacles to learn additional energy-saving opportunities.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While doing your own air leak tests is a good 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 an extensive home energy assessment and customized solutions to enhance efficiency and comfort.