Summer is a great time to relax, but there’s just one problem: it’s way too hot outside! You’ll probably spend a lot of time inside trying to stay cool.
However, things like air leaks cut into your cool and drive up your bill, all at the same time. If you’re wondering how to find air leaks in your home, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide below.
WHAT CAUSES LEAKS?
We’ve got a lot of helpful info below about how you can find and seal air leaks. However, you may start out with a more fundamental question: what causes air leaks?
On the most basic level, an air leak is simply when outside air comes in and then leaves through some kind of unexpected opening, such as doors and windows. Those unexpected openings are usually areas that were once sealed, but time and use has created gaps that will need to be repaired.
Now that you know what causes the leaks, though, it begs the question: why is it important to do so?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SEAL THEM?
Finding and sealing air leaks will help drive your bill down, especially during the summer. Leaking air means that your air conditioner has to work that much harder to cool your house down, and that’s only going to make your bills higher.
Air leaks can also cause your home to be uncomfortable in certain areas and certain times of day. Certain sections of your home might be hot due to hot air that is trapped inside. Alternately, other areas might be too cold due to your air conditioner having to work overtime to fix things.
That’s why you should seal the leaks; now it’s time to learn how to find air leaks in your home!
We’re big fans of the “measure twice, cut once” philosophy of life. That’s why we think you should have a game plan before you start searching for and sealing leaks. In this case, that means figuring out which areas are likeliest to actually have leaks.
For instance, it’s worth checking underneath all of your doors. And if you have any single pane windows, it’s worth inspecting those as well. But there are less likely culprits as well: things like cable or faucet entrances as well as dryer vents can all unexpectedly be leaking air.
Finally, consider any “mixed material” areas (such as where wood intersects with brick). You know your home better than anyone, so you’ll have the best idea where to start looking!
2. VISUAL INSPECTION
There are some more complex tricks we’ll get into pretty soon for finding leaks. But the first step is to use your most basic of tools: your eyes!
Basically, there are two techniques for visual inspection. The first technique works best during the daytime: you simply inspect inside and outside the house, looking for obvious gaps and areas where the caulking has worn away. And those windows we mentioned earlier? Make sure you check for damaged glazing.
The next technique works best at night. The easiest way of detecting gaps is to see if any light is peeking through in areas where it shouldn’t. All you have to do is grab a flashlight and a friend and go from door to door and window to window.
3. DEPRESSURIZING THE HOUSE
Now that you know simple ways for how to find air leaks in your home, we’ve got some more complex tips. Before you can try them, though, you need to depressurize your house.
This is a relatively simple process. You start out by closing all of your windows and doors, and then you turn off the air conditioning. After that, you turn on any exhaust fans and dryers. It’s also possible to place fans in windows. However you do it, the idea is to move air out of the house.
Once you’ve done this, you can move on to the next two methods!
4. PAPER POWER
For your doors and windows, one way to detect leaks is to simply use a sheet of paper. The idea is that you close the door or window with the paper underneath it. After it is firmly closed, you attempt to pull the paper back out.
Basically, if you can take the paper out without it ripping or tearing, then you likely have a leak. This is because the amount of space necessary for the paper to move freely is also enough to allow air out, so you need to go ahead and seal it up!
5. INCENSE INSPIRATION
The next technique is a little more complex, but it has a fun side effect. When you’re done, your house will smell really, really good!
You start out by lighting an incense stick and then taking it close to the areas that you expect have leaks. If there is a leak, then the smoke is going to be sucked out in those areas. If the smoke is not sucked out, then no leak is present and nothing needs to be done in this area.
6. PROFESSIONAL ENERGY AUDIT
So far, we’ve focused on things that you can do around the house on your own to find air leaks. This is because many people would like to verify that there is a major problem before they call in the professionals.
However, the reason that they are professionals is because they have dealt with things like air leaks countless times before. This is why you should strongly consider giving us a call so we can perform an energy audit of your home.
We are able to conduct professional tests that you can’t really do on your own, such as blower door tests and insulation inspections. And if we find any other problems while we are there (such as issues with your air conditioning), we can make some recommendations and ultimately save you time and money that would otherwise go towards an entirely new problem.
Finally, we’re just as good at sealing the leaks as we are at finding them. Having us fix the leaks will offer you a peace of mind in knowing that we got everything right the first time. All you have to do at that point is kick back and enjoy the summer!
Now you know all about how to find air leaks in your home. However, do you know the professionals to turn to when you need help?
At One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Charlotte, we’re all about keeping your house temperature and utility bill as low as possible. To see how we can help you find and seal those pesky air leaks, give us a call today!