Those Troublesome Air Leaks: Find Them, Fix Them
The air leaks in your home are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That’s why the volume of heat that can enter during summer or escape during winter is so large. In a house without weatherizing, the sum total of leakage from all sources can be the equivalent of leaving an exterior door standing open at all times. Fortunately, air leaks are also one of the easiest efficiency-related problems to remedy yourself.
A good way to detect leaks indoors is by waving smoke from a stick of incense around the potential source to see if the smoke stream is deflected by moving air. At night, turn on bright indoor lights and step outside and look for shafts of light streaming under doors and other locations.
These are some of the areas in a home most prone to leakage:
- The gaps around the frame and jambs of doors and windows.
- Penetrations in the wall where electrical wires and plumbing pipes pass into the house.
- The joint where bricks or exterior siding contact the foundation, as well as the corners formed by the intersections of exterior walls.
- Around the attic hatch or pull-down stairs.
- Where kitchen or bathroom exhaust ducts or plumbing vents pass through the ceiling into the attic.
The gaps between doors and windows and their jambs can be closed with foam weatherstripping tape with adhesive backing. Trim the foam to prevent binding or tearing when the door or window is opened and closed. Metal or rubber door sweeps installed on the door threshold can close a large gap under the door.
Seal other gaps with a cartridge-loading caulking gun. Use silicone caulking or oil-based exterior caulking for most cracks. Larger leaks can be filled with expandable spray foam in a can. Apply sufficient caulk to fill the opening completely and scrape away excess with a paint scraper or putty knife.
Comfort Systems combines seven Wichita-area companies into a single source for superior home comfort sales and service. Ask us about more ways to increase energy efficiency by finding and fixing air leaks in your home.