How to Check for Air Leaks Before it Heats Up
All the work you do to save energy can be undermined by air leaks between the interior and exterior of your home. Since the weather is so comfortable during the late winter and early spring, the time you take to find and seal the leaks will save your energy dollars during the upcoming cooling season.
A Professional Audit
The easiest and most effective way to identify the leaks is by having a professional energy audit for your home. Licensed auditors and HVAC contractors use equipment that pinpoints every place in your home where air can move inside and out. They use blower doors and scanning equipment that gives you the precise location for the leaks and how extensive they are.
Using the fan, they measure how quickly the air pressure drops. If it maintains pressure, the fan is pulling air inside from the outdoors, indicating problems with cracks, gaps and holes throughout the envelope. If it drops quickly, your home is probably airtight. The thermographic scanning devices identify exactly where the leaks are.
Doing It Yourself
It takes more time and it’s not as precise, but you can identify the air leaks by closing all the windows and exterior doors and blocking off the fireplace. After turning on the kitchen and bathroom fans, use a lighted stick of incense or a burning candle to walk through your home near the exterior walls looking for places where the smoke or flame moves.
Focus on places where you have:
- Windows and exterior doors.
- Dryer vents.
- Electrical receptacles.
- Recessed lights and vent pipes that enter the attic.
- Places where pipes, wires and cables enter.
- Ceiling plates and foundation walls around the perimeter.
Fixing the Leaks
Caulk and expanding foam will seal the leaks and can be a do-it-yourself project. You can also hire a contractor to seal them, especially if the leaks are hard to reach or around heat-producing flues or vent stacks.
Sealing the air leaks lowers your energy costs and takes a load off the HVAC system. To learn more, contact Beyer Boys, providing HVAC services for San Antonio homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).