Though they may be tiny, air leaks in your home have the potential to raise your energy bills and decrease the comfort of your home. Air leaks are the cracks and conduits by which outdoor air exchanges with your conditioned indoor air. In the winter, air leaks cause cold drafts, and in the summer, they allow your precious, cooled air to float away where it doesn’t do you any good. To avoid this problem, you need to tackle those air leaks, but first you have to know how to find them.
Locating air leaks in your home
Locating air leaks is easier in the winter when you can feel cold drafts coming into the house. To find your home’s air leaks, look in and around these common sites:
- Recessed lighting fixtures
- Basement rim joists (the point at which the concrete foundation meets the wood framing)
- Windows and doors, especially the seals and frames
- Attic hatches
- Electrical wiring holes
- Plumbing vents
- Furnace flue
Check each of these sites in your home and feel for outdoor air seeping in through the cracks. A surefire way to test for air leaks is by holding a lit incense stick next to the above-mentioned sites. If the smoke travels horizontally instead of vertically, you’ve found an air leak. Once you locate air leaks in your home, seal them to increase your comfort and decrease your energy bills.
How to seal air leaks
Use sealing tactics appropriate to the sites where you find your air leaks. Not all applications work for all materials.
- Caulk around windows that leak air.
- Apply new weatherstripping to doors.
- Install foam gaskets behind switch plates and electrical outlets.
- Apply foam sealant to larger gaps around walls, ceilings and floors.
- Replace old door thresholds with pliable sealing gasket thresholds.
- Use fire-resistant furnace cement caulk to seal leaks around furnaces and fireplaces.
For more expert advice on sealing the air leaks in your home or for information about other heating and cooling issues, contact us at Smoky Mountain Heating & Air.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Asheville, North Carolina and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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