How to Find Air Leaks and Seal Them

How to Find Air Leaks and Seal ThemYou might have a state-of-the-art HVAC system with all the bells and whistles, but if your home isn’t properly weatherized, you’re still going to have a difficult time heating and cooling it affordably and effectively. This means both effective sealing to eliminate air leaks and proper insulation. Here we’ll mainly review air sealing.

Any productive strategy for air sealing a home starts with finding where the air is leaking. You can do this yourself, basically for free, or else you can commission a professional energy audit.

Do-It-Yourself

First patrol the exterior of your home, paying special attention to likely locations for air leaks. This might be where the walls meet the foundation, or where utility conduits, pipes or vents penetrate the exterior of the house. Look for evidence of deterioration in walls or foundation. From inside the house on a windy day, walk around the interior of the home’s envelope with a lighted incense stick or smoke pencil, placing it near areas prone to air leaks. These include windows and doors, utility penetrations in the basement, and the spots where the foundation, sill plate and walls intersect. If you see the smoke waver, you’ve probably found an air leak.

Professional Energy Assessment

This is a considerably more comprehensive way to find air leaks in your home. A professional energy auditor will use high-tech diagnostic equipment to assess how badly your home is leaking air, along with where the air leaks are located. This process also will determine where insulation is missing or otherwise inadequate. Powers has a Building Performance Institute (BPI) trained staff member to do this for you and if you are on Georgia Power lines you will qualify for a significant rebate towards the cost of this service.

It’s Time to Seal

You’ll want to use a combination of weather stripping, caulk and spray foam to seal leaks. Apply weatherstripping to seal around doors and window sashes (start by replacing old, deteriorated weather stripping). Caulk should be used for other gaps and cracks (just follow instructions on the packaging), unless the opening is relatively large, in which case spray foam should be used. While you’re at it, seal ductwork with mastic sealant and quality metal tape.

For more advice on weatherizing your Sharpsburg, Senoia, Peachtree City, Tyrone or Fayetteville area home, please contact us at Powers Heating & Air.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Norman Pogson/Shutterstock”

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