Have you noticed a sudden spike in your energy bills that is not in tandem with your energy consumption? You might have air leaks in your house. When you have leaks in your house, it becomes more difficult to warm your home, thus driving up your energy bills. Finding and sealing these air leaks is important for you to take charge of your energy costs.
Air leakage in a building is equivalent to energy loss. For example, an average home with air leaks totalling a two-square-foot hole loses energy equivalent to opening a medium-sized window and leaving it wide open for a whole day.
Home air leaks quickly add up to significant energy waste. But you can save a huge chunk of money by locating and sealing them. Read on to learn more as we double down on how to find air leaks in your house and fix them.
How to tell if you have air leaks in your house?
Perhaps you’re wondering, how do I know I have air leaks in my house, and how do I find them? Well, the most obvious sign is a spike in your normal energy costs. If your gas and electricity bills for a certain period are way above how they were the same period one year ago, it could mean heat is escaping your house.
You should then move on to investigate potential air leaks.
Where do homes experience the most air leakage?
- Attics & crawlspaces
The adage out of sight out of mind has never been more correct. The low-traffic areas of your home, like the attic and crawlspace, are most likely the biggest source of energy loss.
You should examine your roof after a snowfall to see whether there are patches of melted snow or ice circles that form around the roofline. If you find them, it means warm air is leaking from the living space into the attic, thus making it more difficult to heat your home. Besides, bare spots in any other location other than the exhaust pipes are signs of heat loss in the attic space.
For the crawlspace, you can touch it to feel the temperature. If it is cold and feels uncomfortable to walk on, know that cool air is penetrating the warm part of your house.
- Doors & windows
You may replace the windows and doors to prevent air leaks, but your efforts will be futile if you do not repair the surrounding frame or leave the old uninsulated window frame intact. Older windows often have poor insulation and gaps between the framing and frame. The frame may begin to rot or have uninsulated gaps that let in cold air into the house.
Examine your doors for leaks and check the weather stripping for gaps and peels. Also, check whether the hinges are tight and whether doors fit well in their thresholds. You can shake the windows a little to detect any rattle. Don’t forget to inspect your window panes for cracks.
How to locate air leaks in your house?
Now that you know where to look for air leaks in your house, the next step involves figuring out which of those places has air leaks. Below are a few methods you can use to detect air leaks in your house.
1. The manual inspection
Perform a manual inspection during an extremely cold or hot day. Here, you will be inspecting all the seams in your home and outside the structure. If you feel a sudden rise or drop in temperature, it means you have found your air leak. You can moisten your hands with water so you can easily feel the temperature change.
2. The flashlight test
Switch off any light in the room at night and tell someone to stand outside facing the place you suspect a leak. Shine the flashlight from inside the house. If your colleague sees the light, it means you could be having a large leak.
3. The paper test
Place a piece of paper into the frame of your door or window, close it and try to pull the paper out. If you can remove it easily, you have an air leak.
How do I fix air leaks in my house?
Once you find air leaks in your house, the final step is fixing them. Fortunately, every leak you find has a sealing solution.
- Windows and doors
Use polyurethane insulation foam for large spaces between the foundation and the house frame. This foam expands and occupies the large gaps (0.5 inches and more); you can use silicone or latex sealant for small gaps. Ensure you use heat-resistant caulk when sealing air duct leaks around water heater vents and stoves.
- Attic and crawl space
Use a ruler for diagnosis and if the insulation is 17 inches or less, fill it with fiberglass insulation.
When to call the professionals
Sometimes you may find it difficult to locate and troubleshoot air leaks in your home. However, don’t lose sleep over that. If you reside in Denver Metro, Boulder, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, and Northern Colorado, you can always reach out to Colorado Insulation and Whole-House Fans for professional assistance.
Our experienced technicians will perform a home energy assessment to determine your home’s overall air tightness. They’ll then find the air leaks and seal them professionally. Professionals will even detect hard-to-find air leaks, and the end result when we leave will be an optimally sealed and energy-efficient home.