Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home
A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a tightly 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 establish a relaxing 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 effective techniques for looking for air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a detailed visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay particular attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can commonly be found there.
- Hold your hand near potentially leaky locations on a cold or windy day. If you believe there is 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 trouble spots. If an air leak exists, the smoke will blow around or get sucked into the gap, exposing the leak’s location. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when performed on a windy day.
- Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in your home. These devices help you detect areas with significant temperature variations, which often signify air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Inspecting the exterior structure can also reveal potential leaks. Here are two strategies for detecting air leaks from the outside:
- Perform a visual examination, paying close attention to corners and locations where different materials meet. Search 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 colder day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the building's exterior while another person stands inside near 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 finding serious air leaks, it’s time to deal with 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. Choose a quality, long-lasting caulk developed for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials in question to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s directions 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. Choose the proper style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal more substantial 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 instructions to make sure you use them carefully.
- Apply insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further minimize heat transfer. Even if you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where you need more.
- Put door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors to stop drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and models to meet your needs and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is valuable for identifying sneaky air leaks and pinpointing areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor does this inspection, which consists of the following:
- A blower door test entails installing a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the inside air pressure and drawing in outside air through unsealed openings. This test measures your home’s air tightness and makes thermal camera images show leaks more clearly.
- Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor locate temperature discrepancies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden air leaks and insulation deficiencies.
- 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 deadly carbon monoxide buildup.
- A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor discusses your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort obstacles to spot additional energy-saving opportunities.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While carrying out your own air leak tests is an excellent jumping off point, working 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 boost performance and comfort.