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How to Find Air Leaks in Your Home

Are you wasting money by letting cool air escape from your home? Find out how to find and stop air leaks in your home.

One of the simplest solutions for saving every month on your utility bill is to stop trying to air condition all of southern Louisiana by locating and sealing any air escaping from your home via air leaks.  Air leaks might also be contributing to hot spots in your home.  Click here to learn more about hot spots.

Leaking air is an everyday occurrence that can happen at obvious locations, including under the front or back door, or through an open window. However, locating gaps that are less obvious is more challenging. It is imperative to discover exactly where the air leaks are located so they can be sealed up.


Performing a Visual Inspection

Without the proper equipment, homeowners are left to perform a visual inspection. Often times, gaps and cracks that open up from the interior of the home to the outdoors can happen at locations where two different construction materials come together. On the exterior of the home, these include:

  • Outdoor water bibs where the faucet penetrates through the exterior of the home
  • Every exterior corner
  • The location where chimneys and siding meet
  • The area where the bottom of the exterior siding or brick meets the foundation

On the interior of the home, a visual inspection can often locate gaps and cracks that might be causing minor or significant air leaking. These locations include:

  • Switch plates
  • Electrical outlets
  • Baseboards
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Gas and electrical service entrances
  • Window and doorframes
  • The hatch to the attic
  • Window mounted or wall-mounted A/C units
  • Phone and cable TV jacks
  • Penetrating air vents
  • Fans and vents

It is also imperative to search out any gap that might leak air around wires, pipes, mail slots and the seals of the foundation. Fully inspect the weather stripping and all the caulking to ensure it is properly applied. The caulking should be void of any cracks or gaps and be in good condition. All of the caulking in and around the exterior windows and doors need to be inspected to ensure they seal tightly.

Inspect every door and window for an air leak. The inspection should include a rattling test, to see if there is any type of movement when the window or door is closed securely. Any daylight that penetrates from the outside through the window or doorframe can cause a significant air leak. This typically requires some type of weather stripping or caulking to minimize or eliminate the gap. Part of the inspection should include replacing any door or window that is not functioning properly with one designed to produce high performance.

A Pressurization Test

Increasing the air pressure inside the home is a simple way to seek out leaks and cracks. Detecting any type of air leakage requires a few simple steps. These include:

1. On an extremely windy day, turn off every appliance that is combustible including water heaters and furnaces that burn gas.
2. Securely shut every exterior door, the fireplace flue, and every window.
3. Turn every exhaust fan on including the one over the stove and every bathroom fan.
4. Using a lit stick of incense is an easy method for detecting leaking sites. Move the stick of incense around the closed doors and windows from the inside. Move the stick around the receptacles and switch plates, by the fireplace, and the attic.

When DIY Isn’t Working

Trying “DIY” methods for finding and sealing leaks in your home may be a more difficult task than you would prefer.  If that’s the case, or you just want to have your home checked, call us today at Berner A/C & Heat.  Our highly trained air conditioning technicians have advanced testing equipment that can quickly identify any air leaks in your home and help seal them up tightly so the cool air stays in and the hot air stays outside where it belongs!

Image Source: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_sealing