Leaks are never a good thing. Whether you have a leaky faucet dripping into your sink, a leaky pipe getting your floor wet, or a leaky window making your air-conditioned home less comfortable, leaks are always issues that need to be addressed. When it comes to air leaks, you need to have your home inspected by a trained technician who will perform an energy audit. Energy audits show you where your home is not performing as efficiently as it could. By addressing these problem areas, you will in turn save yourself some money in the years to come.
Air leaks come in many different forms, from small cracks in a corner wall to a gap between the front door and the floor below it. The best way to test your home for leaks is with a blower door test. This test involves setting up what looks like a makeshift door where your front door is located (don’t worry, your front door will not need to be removed). This special door has a fan built into it which will suck air out of your home, causing it to depressurize. By closing up all other exterior openings — that is, closing windows, doors leading outside, chimney dampers, vents, and all other openings — you will allow your home to be as airtight as it can be. When the door blower is activated, any spots where air is leaking will become detectable.
It is possible to find air leaks without the use of the aforementioned test, but they can be more time consuming and not as effective. First, you’ll want to do a visual inspection of your home. Check all corners of your home, literally. The external corners of your house can have sizeable gaps, and any place where two materials meet have a tendency to form leaks. This includes homes with chimneys. Chimneys are separate from the rest of your home in that they will not be the same material as your walls, more than likely. Be sure to check all outdoor spigots, as they may not be properly sealed against the siding.
These same principals apply to materials and objects inside your home as well. Electrical outlets and switch plates should be securely fastened and all screws tightened to make sure they are well sealed. Any location where something enters or exits your home is a potential leak point. These include electrical wires and any pipes that connect to gas lines, water wells, or septic tanks. Any object that can be opened has a potential for air leaks. Windows and door frames, attic hatches, fireplace dampers, or vents can cause air leaks if they are not properly aligned and shut. For many of these, weather-stripping your home can help seal it better.
After you have ascertained where the largest gaps are, it’s time to look for smaller ones. On particularly windy days, close up all possible openings in your home, but turn on any fan vents that blow air out of your home. These can be dryer vents, bathroom vents, or stove vents, or if you lack those, a large window fan aimed outside and sealing the open space around it can work as well. This will depressurize your home, and in doing so, allow you to find leaks more easily. Next, take an incense stick and light it. Slowly wave the lit incense along all corners of your home and anywhere there could be gaps. If the smoke wavers, blows in, or is sucked out, you have found a leak. Address these leaks through weather-stripping or contact a professional technician to give your home an accurate energy audit. By sealing up your home, you will save a bundle on your energy needs as air conditioners and heaters will not have to work as hard to maintain a set temperature.
About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting: www.GlacialEnergy.com.