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 uncover air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when needed 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 inside. Here are four successful methods for finding air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a thorough visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks in and around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay special attention to the corners of rooms, as gaps can commonly be found there.
- Place your hand around potentially leaky areas on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve found an air leak.
- Perform the smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it all around the edges of windows, doors and other potential trouble spots. If an air leak is occurring in this location, the smoke will blow around or get sucked through the gap, revealing the leak’s location. The smoke test is more effective when carried out on a windy day.
- Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences around your home. These tools help you detect areas with sizeable temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Studying the home's outdoor structure can also expose 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 deteriorated caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Do the garden hose test on a colder day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the exterior while another person stands inside close to a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside ought to feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After identifying serious air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the most effective 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 leaking out. Choose a quality, long-lasting caulk intended for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials in question to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for correct application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. A variety of of weatherstripping are sold in stores, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Select the correct style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is available 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 ensure safe use.
- Add insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further reduce heat transfer. Even when 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 external doors to prevent drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and designs to meet your desires and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is useful for identifying concealed air leaks and pinpointing areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor carries out this inspection, which involves the following:
- A blower door test entails putting in a temporary door with a sturdy fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air away from the house, lowering the indoor 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 locate temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen air leaks and insulation inadequacies.
- A combustion safety test makes certain your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and effectively, decreasing 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 identify additional energy-saving opportunities.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While performing your own air leak tests is a good launching point, partnering 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 tailored solutions to boost efficiency and comfort.