Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your Home

A leaky house is considerably less energy efficient than a properly sealed one. Being familiar with how to uncover air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when necessary 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 reliable methods for locating 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 particular attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can commonly be found there.
  • Put your hand near potentially leaky locations on a cold or windy day. If you believe there is a draft, you’ve found 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 leaky areas. If an air leak exists, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, exposing the location of a leak. The smoke test is more effective when done on a windy day.
  • Use an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in your home. These devices help you identify areas with major temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

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

  • Do a visual inspection, paying close attention to corners and locations where different materials meet. Look for gaps or cracks that could lead to air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and poorly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Conduct the garden hose test on a chilly 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 really should feel cold air or moisture getting into through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After finding major air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the most effective ways to 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. Choose a 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 correct application and curing time.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. A variety of  of weatherstripping are available, including adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Pick the appropriate style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam comes in a can with a spray applicator for easy application in hard-to-reach places. Wear protective gloves and stick to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe use.
  • Apply insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further minimize heat transfer. Even when 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 outside 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 useful for spotting hidden air leaks and pinpointing areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor carries out this inspection, which consists of the following:

  • A blower door test includes installing a temporary door with a powerful fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air away from the house, lowering the interior 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 locate temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden air leaks and insulation gaps.
  • 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 deadly carbon monoxide buildup.
  • A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor looks at your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort challenges to learn additional energy-saving possibilities.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While doing 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 comprehensive home energy assessment and tailored solutions to boost effectiveness and comfort.

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