Modern home building methods aim for an airtight structure, but over time, leaks and cracks are bound to occur. While this does allow some fresh air inside the home, the downside is that it compromises your heating and cooling efforts. Air leaks not only let your conditioned air out, but also allow unconditioned air and humidity inside. Fortunately, detecting places where air may be leaking is pretty straightforward. Here are two methods that work well.
Finding Air Leaks in Your Home
If you have an older home, you’ve probably detected drafts around windows and doors. Other key places where a simple hand test may work well are the following:
- Where the walls meet the ceiling
- Attic hatches
- Electric switches
- Electric outlets
- Recessed lighting
- Holes where pipes, cables and wiring enter the home
You can also pass a smoke pencil in front of these locations and if the smoke wavers, you have an air leak.
A professional energy evaluation will provide a good picture of where your home is losing conditioned air. First step is performing a blower door test, with a powerful fan mounted in the frame of an exterior door. The fan lowers air pressure in the home, while the auditor uses a smoke pencil to detect leaks. It’s also common to perform a thermographic scan while the blower door test is occurring. The resulting thermograms reveal through infrared scanning where the home’s warm and cool spots are; air leakage will show up as black streaks on the images if the scan is performed during the blower door test.
It’s not hard to seal air leaks. Apply caulk, weatherstripping or insulation on cracks and gaps around doors and windows, attic hatches, baseboards and faucets. Other solutions to air leaks are to install the following:
- Fire-resistant recessed lighting caps
- Foam gaskets under switch and plug plates
- A door sweep on exterior doors
- Insulation around holes for wiring, cables and pipes
- Insulation in the attic
For more on air leaks, contact Stack Heating & Cooling. We’ve served Northeast Ohio since 1976.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Norman Pogson/Shutterstock”