Air leaks in your home can cause serious problems. Not only can they allow cold air to sneak into your home during the winter, but they can also cost you money. The more air that escapes your home, the more heating and cooling you’ll need to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, which can get expensive. In this article, you’ll find all you need to know to find and seal air leaks in your home.
A building envelope, also known as a thermal envelope, is defined as the materials of a house or commercial building that separate the exterior from the interior. Your home’s envelope is basically the barrier that keeps you from experiencing the extremes of the outside environment and keeps the inside of our your home comfortable, dry and energy-efficient. A home’s structural envelope typically includes windows, doors, walls, ceiling and foundation. Air leaks through these areas are significant sources of heating and cooling losses in a home. Stopping air leaks is one of the best ways to conserve energy, save money and increase comfort.
You may already know where some air leakage occurs in your home, such as a drafty door but you’ll need to find the less obvious gaps to properly seal your home. For an accurate measurement, hire a qualified technician to conduct an energy assessment, which includes a blower door test that can help detect smaller, less noticeable air leaks.
A blower door test measures the airtightness of a home by pulling air out using a special fan called a blower door, which lowers the air pressure inside. When the inside air pressure is lowered, the higher outside air pressure flows into the home through unsealed cracks and openings, showing where your home is in need of weatherization.
On average, a home energy audit, which includes a blower door test, could cost you as little as $100 or as much as $1,500. According to Home Advisor, on average, most people spend $419 for a blower door test. This could fluctuate depending on the service provider you choose and where you live. Contact your local electric cooperative prior to hiring someone to conduct a blower door test, as they may offer free or reduced-cost audit options.
As mentioned above, the best way to find air leaks in your home is to have a professional energy audit conducted. However, if you are unable to do so, there are additional things you can do to find some leaks.
First, look at areas where different materials meet, such as between brick and wood siding, between foundation and walls, and between the chimney and siding. Also, inspect the following areas for any cracks and gaps that could cause air leaks:
Using a professional energy auditor is the best way to find leaks in your home. But if you are unable to have an audit, try performing a smoke test to find some of the leaks on your own. This test can also be used to test how well your home is ventilated after sealing the air leaks in your home.
In addition to the methods we’ve already described, here are a couple more creative ways you can find air leaks that might be costing you money.
Once you find where your home is leaking air, you must seal up those leaks to reap the benefits. Here’s how you can seal the air leaks in your home to help you conserve energy and save money.
Applying a consistent bead of caulk, whether it’s silicone or some other kind, can take some practice to achieve. By following the steps listed below, you can properly caulk and seal those pesky air leaks throughout your home.
When creating an energy-efficient, airtight home through air sealing techniques, it’s very important to consider ventilation. Unless properly ventilated, an airtight home can seal in indoor air pollutants. Ventilation also helps control moisture, another important consideration for a healthy, energy-efficient home.