Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home
A leaky house is dramatically less energy efficient than a correctly sealed one. Understanding how to find air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when necessary can help you create 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 methods for looking for 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 particular attention to the corners of rooms, as gaps can frequently be found there.
- Hold your hand near potentially leaky places on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve discovered an air leak.
- Do a 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 into the gap, revealing the site of the leak. The smoke test is most effective when conducted on a windy day.
- Utilize an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in the different areas of your home. These devices help you detect locations with significant temperature variations, which often are caused by air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Studying the exterior structure can also expose potential leaks. Here are two tips for detecting air leaks from the outside:
- Perform a visual examination, paying close attention to corners and areas where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could lead to air leaks, as well as deteriorated caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Conduct the garden hose test on a cool 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 should feel cold air or moisture coming through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After finding significant air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the most beneficial methods 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. Pick 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 instructions for proper 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. Pick the ideal style for your needs and follow the installation guidelines.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is sold in a can with a spray applicator for quick application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and stick to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you use them carefully.
- Install insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further reduce heat transfer. Whether or not you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where it’s currently lacking.
- Put door sweeps along the bottom of external doors to prevent drafts. Door sweeps are offered in various materials and designs to suit your requirements and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is invaluable for finding concealed air leaks and identifying areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor performs this inspection, which consists of the following:
- A blower door test involves installing a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air from the house, lowering the interior 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 differences 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 correctly, reducing the risk of potentially deadly carbon monoxide buildup.
- A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor discusses your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort challenges to learn additional energy-saving options.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While carrying out your own air leak tests is a great starting point, talking everything over 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 tailored solutions to boost performance and comfort.