The envelope of your home consists of the walls, doors, and windows that create the barrier between the indoor and outdoor environments. Any air leaks in this envelope will cause a significant loss of energy. Even worse, leaks will also waste money since they will make your HVAC system work harder to make up for lost cooled or heated air. To prevent this, it is necessary to seal air leaks in your home’s envelope. Here is a brief discussion of that process.
Finding Air Leaks
Common source of air leaks in your home’s envelope are:
- Door and window frames and casings
- Glass panes in windows and doors
- Wall penetrations where wires, pipes, or conduits enter your home
- Areas where attic and foundation meet the house frame
- Electric switches, outlets, and light fixtures.
You can find air leaks by using techniques such as:
- Physical and visual inspections, looking for obvious holes, cracks, or gaps.
- Feeling for air drafts or areas of temperature difference.
- Having professional procedures performed that are designed to find leaks, such as infiltrometer (blower door) testing or smoke pencil testing. Infiltrometer tests are effective enough to find very small or otherwise hidden air leaks.
Sealing Air Leaks
Sealing air leaks will stop the loss of conditioned air from inside your home and prevent seasonal-temperature air from entering the building. Some effective air sealing techniques include:
- Applying silicone caulk around door and window frames and casings.
- Applying clear caulk around glass panes in doors and windows.
- Putting foam or rubber weather stripping around doors and windows to seal gaps.
- Sealing cracks, holes, and gaps in walls, ceilings, roofs, and foundation (under 1/4 inch) with caulk.
- Inserting appropriate sealing material, such as fiberglass insulation, to holes, cracks, and gaps larger than 1/4 inch.
- Installing rubber sweeps or other appropriate blockers at the bottoms of doors to keep out drafts.
Cool Power is a premier source of expert HVAC services for customers in Long Island. Contact us today for more information on finding and sealing air leaks in your home and how it will save both money and energy.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Norman Pogson/Shutterstock”