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Tips to spot air leaks in home

October 16, 2012

For bringing down your electricity bills, you need to air seal your house properly. Starting from doing a blower door test, which depressurizes a home to disclose the position of many leaks, to hiring a qualified technician for performing an energy assessment, there are many ways to spot and plug air leaks. Here are some simple tips that can help you spot air leaks in home:

Visual assessment

You should examine all regions outside your house, where building materials of two different types are joined together. This includes:

  • Water faucets located outdoors
  • Every exterior corner
  • Regions where the foundation and the base of siding or exterior brick meet

Inside your home, you need to inspect the following for any gaps and cracks, which could trigger air leaks:

  • Switch plates
  • Electrical outlets
  • Window and door frames
  • Baseboards
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Gas and electrical service entrances
  • Attic hatches
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Air conditioners mounted on windows or walls
  • Phone and cable TV lines
  • Fans and vents
  • Areas where dryer vents pass through the walls

Checking for gaps around foundation seals, wires and pipes, as well as mail slots is also important to spot air leaks. You should examine the weather caulking and stripping too to ensure that they are in good condition, and are applied properly without leaving any cracks or gaps.

Testing the exterior caulking around windows and doors, and checking whether primary doors and exterior storm doors seal tightly is yet another important step to spot air leakage in your home.

Air leak tests

If you can’t spot air leaks with visual inspection, you may use these tests for the same:

  • After lighting incense stick, move it around the edges of common leak locations. Wherever the smoke is sucked out of or wavers or blown into the room, there’s a draft. You may also use a damp hand to find leaks, as any draft will give a cold feeling to your hand.
  • Check if you can rattle windows and doors as movement means potential air leaks. Locating daylight around a window or door frame also means that there may be air leaks.
  •  Shine flashlight over all probable cracks at night while you ask a partner to scrutinize the house from outside. Though big cracks will be revealed as rays of light, it’s not a good way for locating smaller cracks.
  • Shut your window or door on a piece of paper. In case the paper can be pulled out without getting it torn, it means that you are losing energy through air leaks.

So, use these tips and tests to spot air leaks and seal them to avoid wasting energy and paying for steep electricity bills.

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