According to the Department of Energy, air leaks through the conditioned envelope of the average home add about 20 percent to the household’s annual heating and cooling costs. If you’d like to get these unnecessary energy losses under control, you can start by identifying those areas where leaks are occurring.
Investigate Areas Where Air Leakage Frequently Occurs
Some of the most common problem areas where leaks occur are:
- Around window and door moldings
- Where different building materials meet
- Where the foundation meets the sill plate
- Penetrations for wiring, vents and pipes
- Around the attic access hatch
- Behind attic kneewalls
- Around recessed lights
- At wall/ceiling junctures
- Along exterior wall baseboards
- Around exterior wall electrical boxes
Try These Air Leakage Detection Methods
Pressurizing your home makes finding air leaks easier and it’s best done on a cool, windy day. First, shot off combustion appliances like the range and water heater. Next, shut your fireplace flue and all exterior doors and windows. Finally, turn on anything that sends air outside, like the clothes dryer, and kitchen/bathroom exhaust fans. Now, use the following methods to detect leaks in the areas listed above:
- Pass a smoke pencil along a potential leak source. If the smoke moves, you’ve found a leak that needs sealing.
- Wet your hand and move it around suspected trouble spots. If there’s a draft, you’ll feel a cool sensation on your skin from the air movement.
Two other detection techniques can be used without pressurizing your home:
- Open each door and window, one at a time. Place a sheet of paper underneath, then close the door or window and try to pull the paper out. If you can, there’s a gap where energy is being wasted.
- To find larger leaks through the envelope, wait until it’s dark outside. Take a flashlight and walk around your home’s exterior shining the light on any suspected areas of leakage. Have a helper follow along indoors to locate leaks where the light shines through.
For advice about sealing air leaks and other ways to save energy in your Long Island home, contact us at Cool Power.
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 air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.
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