Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your Home

A leaky house is dramatically less energy efficient than a tightly sealed one. Being familiar with how to detect air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when needed can help you maintain a comfy living environment and decrease your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Begin your air leak inspection on the inside. Here are four reliable techniques for locating air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct a thorough visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks on or near windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay special attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can frequently 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.
  • Complete 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 exists, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, revealing the leak’s location. The smoke test is best at finding leaks when done on a windy day.
  • Employ an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in the different areas of your home. These tools help you detect locations with sizeable temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Studying the exterior structure can also uncover potential leaks. Here are two methods for discovering air leaks from the outside:

  • Do a visual inspection, paying close attention to corners and areas where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could create air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and improperly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Conduct 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 should feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After pinpointing serious air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the most beneficial methods for sealing air leaks in your home:

  • Apply caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is escaping. Select a high-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 proper application and curing time.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. A variety of  of weatherstripping are available, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Pick the proper style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal larger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is available in a can with a spray applicator for simple application in hard-to-reach areas. Wear protective gloves and follow 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. Even if you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where you need more.
  • Put door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors to restrict drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and models to meet your requirements and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

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

  • A blower door test entails setting up a temporary door with a powerful fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air 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 show leaks more clearly.
  • Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor locate temperature discrepancies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing invisible air leaks and insulation deficiencies.
  • A combustion safety test ensures your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and effectively, reducing 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 obstacles to identify additional energy-saving opportunities.

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 an extensive home energy assessment and customized solutions to maximize performance and comfort.

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >
Offer

$50 OFF ANY REPAIR

  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!
print
Offer

MAKE NO PAYMENTS FOR 30 DAYS!

  • Upgrade to Worry-Free Comfort with the Advantage Program and make NO payments for 30 days!
print

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.