Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home

A leaky house is significantly less energy efficient than a properly sealed one. Knowing how to uncover air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when warranted can help you establish a comfortable living environment and lower your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Start your air leak inspection on the inside. Here are four reliable methods for looking for air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a thorough visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks around windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay special attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can commonly be found there.
  • Hold your hand close to potentially leaky locations on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve discovered an air leak.
  • Complete a smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it all around the edges of windows, doors and other potential leaky areas. If an air leak is occurring in this location, the smoke will blow around or get sucked through the gap, exposing the site of the leak. The smoke test is more effective when carried out on a windy day.
  • Utilize an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to find temperature differences in your home. This equipment will help you detect locations with major temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Studying the home's outdoor structure can also uncover potential leaks. Here are two strategies for discovering air leaks from the outside:

  • Do a visual examination, paying close attention to corners and locations where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could cause air leaks, as well as damaged caulk or weatherstripping and poorly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Conduct the garden hose test on a colder day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the exterior while another person stands inside near a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside will more than likely feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After finding serious air leaks, it’s time to handle the issue. Here are the best ways to seal air leaks in your home:

  • Apply caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is escaping. Select a top-quality, long-lasting caulk developed for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials in question to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s details for the best application and curing time.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. A variety of of weatherstripping are sold in stores, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Choose the correct style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is available in a can with a spray applicator for easy application in hard-to-reach places. Wear protective gloves and stick to the manufacturer’s directions to make sure you stay safe.
  • Apply insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further reduce heat transfer. Even if you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where your current level is inadequate.
  • Put door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors to stop drafts. Door sweeps are sold in various materials and designs to meet your desires and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

A home energy assessment is valuable for finding concealed air leaks and pinpointing areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor performs this inspection, which involves the following:

  • A blower door test entails installing a temporary door with a powerful fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air from the house, lowering the inside air pressure and pulling in outside air through unsealed openings. This test measures your home’s air tightness and makes thermal camera images show leaks more clearly.
  • Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor identify temperature inconsistencies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing unseen air leaks and insulation gaps.
  • A combustion safety test ensures your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and efficiently, reducing the risk of potentially harmful carbon monoxide buildup.
  • A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor analyzes your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort issues to learn additional energy-saving opportunities.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While performing your own air leak tests is a good launching point, talking everything over with a professional is far more thorough. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you improve your home’s air tightness with a comprehensive home energy assessment and tailored solutions to boost effectiveness and comfort.


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