If you have areas in your home that feel draftier compared to the rest of your home, then this can be an indication of air leaks. The same can be said if you have a tougher time heating and cooling those areas.
Air leaks allow air from the outside to come into your home while conditioned air leaves your home. Because of this, it becomes more difficult to heat or cool your home to your personal preference, and you can waste money trying to do so. On cold days, a lot of cool air can enter your home. On warm days, your home may have poor air quality because an insufficient amount of air enters your home.
These leaks can come from openings and cracks in doors and windows, and air from within your home’s walls can emerge from floor boards and through electrical outlets.
Having air leaks in the home is concerning, because they make it more expensive to heat and cool your home, needing more energy to do so. They also harm your home’s efficiency, and air that comes in from the attic or foundation can carry in dust and mold, presenting potential health concerns. Additionally, air leaks can negatively affect your home’s structural durability. Because of this, it is vital to prevent air leaks, but first such air leaks need to be found and repaired.
To find air leaks, you need to perform tests. There are various types of tests you can conduct, involving an air leak device, your hand, incense, or a candle. You can also get a contractor to perform more advanced tests to find air leaks in your home.
During a cold day when the heat is on in your home, place your hand near the edges of windows, exterior doors, kitchen and bathroom fans, and air vents. If you feel cold air seeping through these edges, then you have air leaks.
The hand test also works near electrical outlets, and it works best when you’re trying to discover large air leaks.
For smaller leaks, the candle test works well.
With a lit candle, walk around your home to areas where you suspect air leaks. Some examples of such places include near crown molds, baseboards, phone jacks, light fixtures, and electrical outlets. When the candle nears the spot of a potential leak, the light moves around subtly to indicate a small leak.
During the candle test, you should either turn off your home’s air conditioning or heat depending on the weather.
The incense test should be conducted on a cold and windy day, and you need to depressurize your home to do this.
To depressurize your home, turn the fans on in the kitchen and bathrooms, and turn the furnace off. Additionally, close exterior doors and windows. Afterwards, go around your home with a stick of incense that has been lit. Then, place the incense over the edges of vents, windows, doors, and wherever else a potential leak is suspected.
If you find that smoke is being sucked out of your house or into your house, then there’s an air leak.
Air Leak Detector Test
Another way to spot air leaks in your home is to use an air leak detector.
Turn on the detector and point it at areas you think may have leaks. The device will emit a light to scan the area. If there’s a leak, the color of the light will indicate the temperature of the leak; it turns blue for cool air leaks and red for warm air leaks. If there isn’t an air leak, then the light’s color will remain the same.
Blower Door Test
You can also hire a contractor to conduct tests for air leaks in your home.
With this method, the contractor puts a blower door fan at your home’s front entrance. This will depressurize your home by sucking the air out which lets outside air come in through any leaks.
During the depressurization process, the contractor will inspect your property for leaks from dropped ceilings and air ducts and by plumbing and utility openings, ceiling joints, interior walls, and floor joists. Air leaks are also likely to be found around gas and electrical devices, phone and cable lines and in attics, basements, and air conditioners.
How to Stop Air from Leaking
If you have air leaks in your home, it is important to fix them. Not only will stopping leaks save you money on heating and cooling your home, but it also makes your home more durable and comfortable.
Two easy ways to stop air leaks are with weatherstripping and caulking. Weatherstripping is best suitable for sealing leaks from objects that move, like doors. Caulking, on the other hand, is typically used on cracks and other openings found near window and door frames. You can also use foam sealant to close up cracks and gaps wider than ¼ of an inch near windows and other areas where there are air leaks.
If you find that your home has air leaks, stop the leakage right away so you can efficiently heat and cool your home and save money on your energy bills. Not only can air enter your home, but water can also make its way inside in these spaces. So if your home has suffered water damage as a result of air leaks, be sure to contact our water damage restoration professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete immediately to limit the damage and potential for mold growth. We also provide construction services to help repair major air leaks in your home caused by structural or foundational issues.