Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your Home

A leaky house is considerably less energy efficient than a tightly sealed one. Understanding how to find 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 lower your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Initiate your air leak inspection on the interior. Here are four successful ways for looking for air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct a detailed visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay particular attention to the corners of rooms, given that gaps can frequently be found there.
  • Put your hand near potentially leaky locations 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 leaky areas. If an air leak exists, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, showing the leak’s location. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when done on a windy day.
  • Use an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in your home. These tools help you detect locations with major temperature variations, which often signify air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Inspecting the home’s outdoor structure can also expose potential leaks. Here are two methods for detecting air leaks from the outside:

  • Do a visual examination, paying close attention to corners and places where different materials meet. Look for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and poorly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Perform the garden hose test on a chilly day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the exterior while another person stands inside near 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 finding significant air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the most beneficial 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. Select a top-quality, long-lasting caulk intended 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. Various types  of weatherstripping are available, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Pick the ideal style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal more substantial gaps and holes. Expanding foam is sold in a can with a spray applicator for quick application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and stick to the manufacturer’s directions to make sure you use them carefully.
  • Install 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 restrict drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and styles to fit your requirements and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

A home energy assessment is invaluable for spotting concealed air leaks and locating 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 away from the house, lowering the inside 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 detect temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden air leaks and insulation gaps.
  • A combustion safety test makes sure 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 analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort challenges to learn additional energy-saving options.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While carrying out your own air leak tests is an excellent starting 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 comprehensive home energy assessment and personalized solutions to boost effectiveness and comfort.

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