Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home

A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a properly sealed one. Being familiar with how to find air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when warranted can help you create a cozy living environment and decrease your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Initiate your air leak inspection on the inside of your home. Here are four successful techniques for looking for air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] 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, as gaps can commonly be found there.
  • Place your hand close to potentially leaky locations 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 is present, the smoke will blow around or get sucked into the gap, exposing the location of a leak. The smoke test is more effective when carried out 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 sizeable temperature variations, which often are caused by air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Studying the exterior structure can also reveal potential leaks. Here are two strategies for detecting air leaks from the outside:

  • Perform 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 deteriorated caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Perform the garden hose test on a cool 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 identifying significant air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the best 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 leaking out. Select a high-quality, long-lasting caulk created for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials in question to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper application and curing time.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Different kinds of weatherstripping are on the market, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Select the correct style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal larger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is sold in a can with a spray applicator for easy application in hard-to-reach places. Wear protective gloves and adhere to the manufacturer’s directions to ensure safe use.
  • Add insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further reduce heat transfer. Whether or not 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 exterior doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and styles to suit your requirements and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

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

  • A blower door test includes putting in a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air away from the house, lowering the interior air pressure and drawing in outside air through unsealed openings. This test measures your home’s air tightness and makes thermal camera images easier to read.
  • Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor identify temperature differences in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden 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 analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort issues to identify additional energy-saving possibilities.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While carrying out your own air leak tests is a great jumping off 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 detailed home energy assessment and tailored solutions to maximize effectiveness and comfort.


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