Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home

A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a correctly sealed one. Knowing how to find air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when warranted can help you maintain a relaxing living environment and reduce your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Start your air leak inspection on the inside of your home. Here are four reliable methods for finding air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct|Perform|Carry out} a thorough visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks in and around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay extra attention to the corners of rooms, as gaps can frequently be found there.
  • Place your hand around potentially leaky places on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve found an air leak.
  • Do a smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it around the edges of windows, doors and other potential problem areas. If an air leak is occurring in this location, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, exposing the site of the leak. The smoke test is more effective when performed on a windy day.
  • Utilize an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to find temperature differences around your home. These tools help you detect areas with significant temperature variations, which often are caused by air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

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

  • Do a visual assessment, paying close attention to corners and places where different materials meet. Search 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 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 significant air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the best strategies for sealing air leaks in your home:

  • Apply caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is escaping. Decide on a top-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 the best application and curing time.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. A variety of  of weatherstripping are available, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Choose 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 easy application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you use them carefully.
  • 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 it’s currently lacking.
  • Install door sweeps along the bottom of external doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are offered in various materials and models to meet your needs and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

A home energy assessment is valuable for finding concealed air leaks and identifying areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor performs this inspection, which includes the following:

  • A blower door test includes putting in a temporary door with a sturdy fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air 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 show leaks more clearly.
  • Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor detect temperature inconsistencies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing invisible 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, reducing the risk of potentially dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.
  • A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort issues to learn additional energy-saving options.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While doing your own air leak tests is a good starting 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 comprehensive home energy assessment and tailored solutions to boost effectiveness and comfort.

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