How To Find And Fix Air Leaks In Your Home
Ensuring that your home is energy efficient requires paying attention to all the little details. This could mean installing a programmable thermostat so you can better control your family’s use of your heating and cooling system, or it might mean putting in ceiling fans to give your system a little help during the summer and winter months. But one of the most important (and effective) things you can do to maximize your energy dollars is to address any air leak problems in your home. If your home isn’t airtight, a significant portion of the conditioned air your system is producing is being wasted. To solve this problem, you have to first find the leaks, and then fix them.
Where to Look for Leaks
When you’re looking for leaks in your home, you’ll find they can be almost anywhere. One way to detect these leaks is to position a burning incense stick close to anyplace you suspect a leak. If there is a leak, the smoke will move sideways. There are several specific areas you should look at while searching for leaks:
Doors/Windows: A major source of leaks in any home are cracks and gaps around doors and windows. These can be easily addressed using caulk and or weatherstripping.
Outlets and Switches: Outlets and light switches can also have leaks around them. You can either seal these leaks using gaskets you place behind the plate or by spraying in expanding foam from a can.
Pipes and Vents: You should also check around any pipes or vents passing through exterior walls. While small cracks can be fixed using a caulking gun, for larger openings you will need to use expanding foam.
Recessed Lighting: Another place to look for air leaks is around recessed lighting. These lights could easily let conditioned air escape from your living spaces up into your attic. Use gaskets to seal these leaks.
Attic Doors: Install a gasket seal on the patch or door leading to your attic to keep any conditioned air from seeping past it into the attic.
Open Flues: Make sure that your furnace or fireplace flue is closed when you’re not using it.
Attic Flooring: Examine the floor of your attic to locate any cracks or gaps that are allowing air to escape into the attic. You can repair small cracks using a caulking gun, but you should repair larger gaps with expanding foam sprayed from a can.
A company like Century Heating & Air Conditioning Services can perform a heating audit on your home to determine exactly where and how air is being lost. If you don’t want to check the entire home yourself, contact a professional who can help out.