Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home
A leaky house is considerably less energy efficient than a tightly sealed one. Knowing how to uncover air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when warranted can help you create a comfy 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 effective 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 special attention to the corners of rooms, given that gaps can commonly be found there.
- Put your hand close to potentially leaky areas on a cold or windy day. If you believe there is a draft, you’ve discovered an air leak.
- Perform the smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it around 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, showing the site of the leak. The smoke test is more effective when performed on a windy day.
- Use an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to detect temperature differences in the different areas of your home. These tools help you locate locations with significant temperature variations, which often are caused by air leaks.
Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home
Examining the exterior structure can also reveal potential leaks. Here are two methods for discovering air leaks from the outside:
- Conduct a visual inspection, paying close attention to corners and locations where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could create air leaks, as well as worn caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
- Do the garden hose test on a chilly 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 ought to feel cold air or moisture coming through the gap.
Sealing Air Leaks
After pinpointing major air leaks, it’s time to address 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 escaping. Pick a high-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 correct application and curing time.
- Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Various types of weatherstripping are sold in stores, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Pick the correct style for your needs and follow the installation guidelines.
- Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam comes in a can with a spray applicator for simple application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you stay safe.
- 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 your current level is inadequate.
- Add door sweeps along the bottom of external doors to stop drafts. Door sweeps are made in various materials and models to fit your requirements and aesthetic preferences.
Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment is valuable for finding hidden air leaks and locating areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor performs this inspection, which involves the following:
- A blower door test involves setting up a temporary door with a powerful fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air out of 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 show leaks more clearly.
- Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor locate temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing invisible air leaks and insulation inadequacies.
- 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 discusses your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort obstacles to identify additional energy-saving options.
Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment
While doing your own air leak tests is an excellent 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 detailed home energy assessment and personalized solutions to maximize effectiveness and comfort.