Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home

A leaky house is dramatically less energy efficient than a properly sealed one. Knowing how to find 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 reduce your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Begin your air leak inspection on the interior. Here are four reliable methods for finding air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a comprehensive visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay particular attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can frequently be found there.
  • Put your hand around potentially leaky locations 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 near the edges of windows, doors and other potential leaky areas. If an air leak is present, the smoke will blow around or get sucked through the gap, exposing the leak’s location. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when performed on a windy day.
  • Utilize an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to detect temperature differences in the different areas of your home. These tools help you locate locations with major temperature variations, which often are caused by air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Examining the home's outdoor structure can also uncover potential leaks. Here are two methods for finding air leaks from the outside:

  • Conduct 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 deteriorated caulk or weatherstripping and incorrectly 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 close to a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside will more than likely feel cold air or moisture getting into through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After finding significant air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the most beneficial ways to seal air leaks in your home:

  • Utilize caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is leaking out. Choose a high-quality, long-lasting caulk intended for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you are trying to seal 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. Choose the ideal style for your needs and follow the installation recommendations.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal larger gaps and holes. Expanding foam comes in a can with a spray applicator for simple application in hard-to-reach spots. Wear protective gloves and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you stay safe.
  • 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.
  • Add door sweeps along the bottom of outside doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are available in various materials and designs to meet your requirements and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

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

  • A blower door test entails putting in a temporary door with a sturdy fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air away from the house, lowering the inside 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 discrepancies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen air leaks and insulation inadequacies.
  • A combustion safety test makes certain your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and efficiently, decreasing the risk of potentially deadly carbon monoxide buildup.
  • A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor discusses your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort issues to spot additional energy-saving possibilities.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While doing your own air leak tests is a great jumping off point, working with a professional is far more thorough. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you improve your home’s air tightness with an extensive home energy assessment and personalized solutions to boost performance and comfort.


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