How You Can Find and Seal Air Leaks in Your Home's Envelope

March 17, 2016

How You Can Find and Seal Air Leaks in Your Home's Enve

You may not realize it, but air leaks through your home's envelope can waste a sizable chunk of your heating and cooling budget. By finding and sealing leak sources, you'll not only lower your energy bills, but you'll also boost your comfort level, create a healthier living environment and protect your home from the elements.

How to Locate Air Leaks
Performing a thorough inspection of the exterior is a good place to start. Check for holes, gaps and cracks that allow air infiltration, especially in the following areas:

  • Around any extrusions through the shell, such as wiring, plumbing lines, HVAC vents and outdoor faucets.
  • Where different types of construction materials come together.
  • Between the top of the foundation and the siding.
  • Along exterior corners, and around doors and window frames.
Next, use a smoke pencil or burning stick of incense to check the attic and living areas - when you see the smoke waver, you've found a leak. Common problem areas include:
  • Around door and window trim boards.
  • Between the living space ceilings and the attic floor, especially around knee walls, recessed lights, flue or chimney penetrations and the access door.
  • Around exterior wall electrical outlets, switches and baseboards.

How to Tackle Sealing Air Leaks
Air sealing isn't difficult, but it is a time-consuming chore, so you may want to address the trouble spots in different areas of your home one at a time. The products used for sealing leaks are fairly inexpensive, and they're usually available wherever building supplies are sold. You'll probably need:

  • Caulk - This makes a good sealant for stationary components like window frames, and it fills in cracks and gaps less than 1/4 inch wide.
  • Weather stripping - Self-adhesive foam weather stripping is available in various widths. It's ideal for sealing movable windows sashes and doors, and the attic access hatch.
  • Spray foam - Expandable foam is the right material to use for filling gaps and holes around exterior and attic floor penetrations wider than 1/4 inch.
For more advice about finding and sealing air leaks in your Des Moines home's envelope, contact us today at Lozier Heating & Cooling. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Snappa"