Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home

A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a tightly 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 decrease your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Initiate your air leak inspection on the interior. Here are four successful ways for locating 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 special attention to the corners of rooms, given that gaps can commonly be found there.
  • Place your hand near potentially leaky areas on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve discovered an air leak.
  • Do a smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it all around the edges of windows, doors and other potential leaky areas. If an air leak is occurring in this location, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, revealing the leak’s location. The smoke test is more effective when performed on a windy day.
  • Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to find temperature differences in the different areas of your home. These devices help you locate locations with significant temperature variations, which often are caused by air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

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

  • Do a visual assessment, paying close attention to corners and locations where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could lead to air leaks, as well as damaged 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 where there is a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside should feel cold air or moisture coming through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After identifying major air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the most beneficial strategies for sealing air leaks in your home:

  • Use caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is leaking out. Choose a top-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 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, including adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Pick the ideal 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 quick application in hard-to-reach places. Wear protective gloves and adhere to the manufacturer’s directions to make sure you use them carefully.
  • Install 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.
  • Install door sweeps along the bottom of external doors to prevent drafts. Door sweeps are offered in various materials and designs to meet your requirements and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

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

  • A blower door test involves putting in a temporary door with a strong fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air from the house, lowering the inside air pressure and pulling in 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 identify temperature inconsistencies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen 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 dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.
  • A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor discusses your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort challenges to spot additional energy-saving possibilities.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While carrying out your own air leak tests is a great starting point, working 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 personalized solutions to boost performance and comfort.


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