Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home
A leaky house is significantly 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 needed can help you establish a comfortable living environment and lower your energy bills.
Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home
Start your air leak inspection on the inside. Here are four effective ways for finding air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a thorough visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks on or near windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay special attention to the corners of rooms, as gaps can commonly be found there.
- Hold your hand near potentially leaky areas on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve uncovered an air leak.
- Do 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 is present, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, showing the site of the leak. The smoke test is most effective when carried out on a windy day.
- Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in your home. This equipment will help you locate sections of your home with major temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Studying the home's outdoor structure can also reveal potential leaks. Here are two strategies for discovering air leaks from the outside:
- Conduct a visual assessment, paying close attention to corners and areas where different materials meet. Look for gaps or cracks that could create air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Conduct 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 near a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside really should feel cold air or moisture getting into through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After identifying major air leaks, it’s time to deal with the issue. Here are the best methods for sealing air leaks in your home:
- Apply caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is getting out of the home. Decide on 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 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, including adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Choose the correct style for your needs and follow the installation guidelines.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal larger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is sold in a can with a spray applicator for easy application in hard-to-reach places. Wear protective gloves and adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you stay safe.
- Add insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further cut down on 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.
- Put door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors to stop drafts. Door sweeps are offered in various materials and models to suit your requirements and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is valuable for finding hidden air leaks and pinpointing areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor performs this inspection, which involves the following:
- A blower door test includes installing a temporary door with a sturdy fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air away 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 easier to read.
- Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor locate temperature differences 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 effectively, 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 obstacles to identify additional energy-saving opportunities.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While carrying out your own air leak tests is an excellent 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 a comprehensive home energy assessment and personalized solutions to boost efficiency and comfort.