Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your Home

A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a correctly sealed one. Understanding how to detect air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when warranted can help you create a relaxing living environment and lower your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Begin your air leak inspection on the inside of your home. Here are four effective ways for locating air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct|Perform|Carry out} a comprehensive visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay special attention to the corners of rooms, as gaps can frequently be found there.
  • Hold your hand close to potentially leaky areas 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 problem areas. If an air leak exists, the smoke will blow around or get sucked into the gap, exposing the location of a leak. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when carried out on a windy day.
  • Use an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in your home. These tools help you locate rooms with significant temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Studying the outer structure can also reveal potential leaks. Here are two strategies for discovering air leaks from the outside:

  • Do a visual assessment, paying close attention to corners and places where different materials meet. Search for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as worn caulk or weatherstripping and poorly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Conduct the garden hose test on a colder 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 should feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After pinpointing serious air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the best 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 top-quality, long-lasting caulk designed for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you are trying to seal to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the best application and curing time.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Different kinds  of weatherstripping are available, 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 larger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is available in a can with a spray applicator for simple application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and follow the manufacturer’s directions to make sure you use them carefully.
  • Add 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 it’s currently lacking.
  • Add door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and models to meet your requirements and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

A home energy assessment is useful for spotting concealed air leaks and pinpointing areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor performs this inspection, which consists of the following:

  • A blower door test includes installing a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air away from the house, lowering the inside air pressure and pulling in 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 inconsistencies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden 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, decreasing the risk of potentially dangerous 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 options.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While doing your own air leak tests is a good launching 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 customized solutions to boost efficiency and comfort.

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