How You Can Find and Seal Air Leaks in Your Home's Envelope
March 17, 2016
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).
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