Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your Home

A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a properly sealed one. Knowing how to uncover air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when needed 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 successful ways for locating air leaks in your house:

  • Carry out a detailed visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks in and around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay particular attention to the corners of rooms, as gaps can commonly be found there.
  • Hold your hand close to potentially leaky locations on a cold or windy day. If you sense 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, exposing the leak’s location. The smoke test is more effective when done on a windy day.
  • Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to detect temperature differences around your home. These tools help you identify areas with sizeable temperature variations, which often signify air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Studying the exterior structure can also uncover potential leaks. Here are two methods for finding air leaks from the outside:

  • Do a visual examination, paying close attention to corners and areas where different materials meet. Look for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as worn caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Perform 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 close to a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside really should feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After identifying significant air leaks, it’s time to deal with the issue. Here are the most beneficial 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 leaking out. Select 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 instructions for proper 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. Choose the ideal style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam comes in a can with a spray applicator for quick application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and follow the manufacturer’s directions to make sure you stay safe.
  • Add insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further cut down on heat transfer. Even if you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where you need more.
  • Install door sweeps along the bottom of outside doors to prevent drafts. Door sweeps are offered in various materials and models to meet your requirements 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 performs this inspection, which consists of 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 pulling 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 inconsistencies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing invisible air leaks and insulation deficiencies.
  • A combustion safety test makes sure your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and correctly, lowering 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 opportunities.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While performing 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 an extensive home energy assessment and personalized solutions to boost efficiency and comfort.

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