Reduce your utility bill this Winter by checking for air leaks in your home. A few air leaks can cost you many extra dollars per month. The key is to find and seal these air leaks before the super cold weather sets in. Check out the 3 ways to successfully locate air leaks below.
Energy.gov recommends first performing a visual inspection. On the outside of your home, make sure to inspect all areas where two different building materials meet including :
- All exterior corners
- Outdoor water faucets
- Where siding and chimneys meet
- Areas where the foundation and the bottom of exterior brick or siding meet.
On the inside of your home:
- Electrical outlets
- Switch plates
- Door and window frames
- Electrical and gas service entrances
- Weather stripping around doors
- Fireplace dampers
- Attic hatches
- Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners.
- Cable TV and phone lines
- Where dryer vents pass through walls
- Vents and fans
Easy Do It Yourself Method
Set aside time to locate air leaks on a cool Fall day, when the outside temperature is at least 20 degrees lower than the temperature in your home.
Items you will need:
- Small bucket of warm water
- A piece of chalk
- A step stool or ladder depending on the height of your ceilings.
- Caulking material
- Backer rod
- Caulking gun
- Masking tape
- Dip your hand in the water and run your wet hand over the interior walls, making sure to keep your hand about 6-12 inches away from the wall surface.
- You will easily feel the cold air if there are leaks in the walls.
- Make sure to use this method around doors and windows, as those are often places where air leaks develop.
- Mark these areas where you feel cold air with the chalk.
- Once you locate leaks, the best way to close up cracks and crevices is from the outside. Sealing a leak from the outside will prevent further air infiltration as well as water.
- The opening source of the leak outside may be several inches from the spot where it is felt inside the home. Continue to seal the area until the person on the inside no longer detects the air leak. For step by step information on sealing areas on log homes see our Energy Seal application page.
- In some areas, it may be necessary to use a flexible backing material, see information on backer rod.
- For a more advanced and detailed way of finding leaks, place a box fan in a window or door blowing outward.
- Cover the rest of the opening with plastic sheeting. Doing this will draw cold air into your home through the leaks making them easier to find.
- Once you have located and marked your leaks, continue on with the steps listed above.
Hire a Professional
Another option for dealing with the air leaks in your home is hiring a professional to locate and caulk the leaks. If you know you have quite a few drafts and leaks to caulk, this may be the most time-efficient option.
With a little patience, time and diligence you can be on your way to utility savings and a warmer house.
Thanks to Perma-Chink Systems, LLC for providing inspiration and reference for this article.