Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your 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 lower your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Begin your air leak inspection on the inside. Here are four effective techniques for looking for air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct a detailed visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks on or near windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay particular attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can commonly be found there.
  • Hold your hand around potentially leaky areas on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve discovered 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 toward the gap, showing the leak’s location. The smoke test is most effective when conducted on a windy day.
  • Utilize an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to find temperature differences around your home. These devices help you locate rooms with major temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Inspecting the outer structure can also reveal potential leaks. Here are two strategies for discovering air leaks from the outside:

  • Do a visual assessment, 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 worn caulk or weatherstripping and improperly 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 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 identifying major air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the most beneficial methods for sealing air leaks in your home:

  • Utilize caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is getting out of the home. Select a quality, long-lasting caulk created 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. Various types  of weatherstripping are available, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Choose the correct style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
  • 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 areas. Wear protective gloves and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure safe use.
  • 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 your current level is inadequate.
  • Install door sweeps along the bottom of outside doors to prevent drafts. Door sweeps are offered in various materials and styles to meet your desires and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

A home energy assessment is invaluable for identifying hidden air leaks and identifying areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor does this inspection, which consists of the following:

  • A blower door test entails setting up a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the indoor air pressure and drawing 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 locate temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen air leaks and insulation gaps.
  • A combustion safety test makes certain your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and effectively, lowering the risk of potentially harmful carbon monoxide buildup.
  • A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor looks at your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort issues to identify additional energy-saving options.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While performing your own air leak tests is a good 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 customized solutions to maximize performance and comfort.

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >
Offer

$50 OFF ANY REPAIR

  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!
print
Offer

MAKE NO PAYMENTS FOR 30 DAYS!

  • Upgrade to Worry-Free Comfort with the Advantage Program and make NO payments for 30 days!
print

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.

Chat with a Service Experts Professional