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 find air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when warranted can help you create a cozy living environment and lower your energy bills.
Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home
Start your air leak inspection on the interior. Here are four reliable techniques for finding air leaks in your house:
- Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a comprehensive visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks on or near windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay particular attention to the corners of rooms, given that gaps can often be found there.
- Hold your hand around potentially leaky places on a cold or windy day. If you sense a draft, you’ve found 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 through the gap, revealing the site of the leak. The smoke test is more effective when done on a windy day.
- Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences around your home. These devices help you locate areas with sizeable temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Inspecting the home's outdoor structure can also reveal potential leaks. Here are two methods for detecting air leaks from the outside:
- Conduct a visual assessment, paying close attention to corners and areas where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Do the garden hose test on a cool 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 significant air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the most beneficial ways to seal air leaks in your home:
- Apply 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 made for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you're using to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Different kinds of weatherstripping are available, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Pick 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 sold in a can with a spray applicator for simple application in hard-to-reach areas. Wear protective gloves and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure safe use.
- Install insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further minimize heat transfer. Whether or not you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where your current level is inadequate.
- Put door sweeps along the bottom of outside doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and designs to meet your needs and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is invaluable for identifying sneaky air leaks and locating areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor does this inspection, which consists of the following:
- A blower door test involves putting in a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air 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 identify 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 harmful carbon monoxide buildup.
- A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort obstacles to spot additional energy-saving options.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While performing your own air leak tests is a good 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 comprehensive home energy assessment and tailored solutions to maximize performance and comfort.