Air leaks are a common problem in homes and they are often difficult to notice, but it is important to recognize when there is an air leak because it could be costing you money. The most common sign of an air leak is drafts through your home. Drafts typically come from doors and windows but they can also be caused by leaks or cracks in the foundation, attic, or HVAC system. Air leaks can cost you money by raising your heating and cooling bills because leaks cause air to escape which forces your HVAC system to work harder to cool or heat an area of your home. So, if you notice higher heating and cooling bills or drafts in your home, make sure you check these common areas for air leaks.
In many cases, you can resolve the problem yourself without the help of a professional. The following tips will help you locate air leaks in your home and seal them.
- Finding the Air Leak: Check the most common areas first including around your doors and windows as well as the foundation to leaks. For your doors and windows, pay attention to the weather stripping and check to see if there is extra space in the frames. You should also check the following for air leaks:
- Outside corners
- Air ducts
- Air conditioners
- Door and window frames
- Weather stripping
- Entrances for gas and electrical lines
- Vents and fans
- Entry points for pipes
- Confirming the Leak: If you believe you have found an air leak, you can confirm this by lighting an incense stick or candle near the suspected leak. The smoke will either escape the area through the leak or get blown back into the space.
- Seal Cracks with Caulk: You can seal cracks that are smaller than ¼ of an inch wide with caulk. If you need to caulk in an area exposed to extreme heat, use caulk that can handle the high temperature.
- Seal Cracks with Foam Sealant: For cracks that are between ¼ of an inch and 3 inches in width, use foam sealant to seal them.
- Install New Weather Stripping: If the weather stripping around your doors and windows does not seal properly, replace it with new weather stripping. Check the hinges on your doors as well because loose hinges could cause air to escape.
If you suspect that there may be an air leak in your home, check these common areas to find the leak and fix the problem by sealing it. Finding and fixing the air leaks will help you keep a comfortable environment in your home by eliminating drafts and allow you to heat or cool your home more efficiently for lower utility bills. You can always talk to a restoration professional to learn more about how you can keep your home protected to prevent property damage and other issues.