Did you know that the average American home leaks the equivalent of an open window’s worth of air from gaps in its building envelope?
Those leaks not only make your home less comfortable, they also make your heating system and cooling equipment work harder to do their jobs, which could saddle you with more repairs and a shorter lifespan for your furnace, boiler, or air conditioner.
But how do you find and eliminate, or at least reduce, home air leaks? Let’s take a look.
A good place to begin your hunt for air leaks is in rooms that are noticeably colder than the rest of the house during the winter months. Once you identify those, try using a flashlight at night to look for gaps in your home’s outer surfaces. Turn the lights out, then have someone stay in a room while you shine the light from the outside; if light comes through a hole or gap, you have the source of your leak. Try this with windows, doorways, at house corners and joints, and even on floorboards.
Some air leaks can be filled using caulk, door sweeps, or weatherstripping; other problems may be more complex. If the latter is the case, consider hiring a qualified technician to conduct a comprehensive home energy audit – particularly a blower door test. This test depressurizes a home, revealing the location of many leaks. A home energy audit will also help determine areas in your home that would benefit from more insulation.
Once these problem areas are identified, you can address them to enjoy more comfort and better home energy efficiency.
If you’re not sure where to get started with your air sealing projects in the coming weeks, here’s a checklist provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). You can find more energy efficiency and air leak tips at their website: www.energy.gov.
It’s a good idea to check for drafts in your home periodically; it may not be as airtight as you think! Consider investing in a home energy audit, too, so you can take full advantage of the amazing energy savings from a high-efficiency heating equipment or cooling equipment installation.