A leaky house is considerably less energy efficient than a properly 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 maintain a cozy living environment and decrease your energy bills.
Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home
Initiate 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 thorough 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 commonly be found there.
- Put your hand near potentially leaky places on a cold or windy day. If you believe there is a draft, you’ve discovered 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 exists, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, exposing the leak’s location. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when done on a windy day.
- Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to detect temperature differences in the different areas of your home. This equipment will help you identify areas with sizeable temperature variations, which often indicate 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:
- Conduct a visual inspection, paying close attention to corners and areas where different materials meet. Look for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and improperly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Perform 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 near a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside will more than likely feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After pinpointing serious 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. Pick a quality, long-lasting caulk developed for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you're using to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Different kinds of weatherstripping are available, including adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Select the ideal style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is available 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 make sure you stay safe.
- Install insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further cut down on 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.
- Add door sweeps along the bottom of outside doors to stop drafts. Door sweeps are made in various materials and styles to meet your needs and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is invaluable for finding sneaky air leaks and identifying areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor carries out this inspection, which includes the following:
- A blower door test entails installing a temporary door with a powerful fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air from the house, lowering the interior air pressure and pulling 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 locate temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen 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 efficiently, reducing 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 challenges to identify additional energy-saving options.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While carrying out your own air leak tests is a good 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 customized solutions to maximize efficiency and comfort.