How to Find Air Leaks in Your Home’s Envelope and Seal Them
Air leaks give Orlando’s heat and humidity an easy way to sneak into your home and steal your comfort. With some simple, inexpensive steps, you can block the leaks to protect your comfort and control your energy bills.
Locating the Leaks
Air leakage occurs through tiny cracks in the barrier between your home’s interior and the outdoors. This leakage lets out your conditioned air and lets in humid outdoor air along with dust, pollen, and other air contaminants. Leaks often show up around:
- Doors and windows
- Outlets and light switches
- Points where wires and pipes penetrate walls
- Ventilation fans
Attics tend to form leaks around the access hatch, recessed lighting, and flues and vent stacks. The rim joints in the basement also tend to leak air.
A chilly draft in winter is the most obvious sign of a leak. Another easy way to spot major leaks is with a smoke pencil or lit stick of incense. When the wind is blowing, hold this up to commonly leaky areas to see if any leaking air blows the smoke.
Smaller leaks, although harder to pinpoint, can still cause energy loss and shouldn’t be ignored. A heating and cooling technician can find these leaks for you using a blower door test as part of a home energy audit.
Air Sealing your Home
Caulk can be used to seal air leaks between surfaces that don’t move, such as between the window frames and the walls. For most indoor surfaces, an all-purpose acrylic latex caulk is sufficient. For surfaces in wet areas, latex caulk is preferable.
Weatherstripping is designed to block leaks around the moving parts of windows and doors. The area you want to seal determines the right kind of weatherstripping to use. Self-stick foam can be used on casement windows, but compression weatherstripping or v-shaped strips are better for the inside tracks of double hung windows. V-shaped strips also work well for the sides of door jambs.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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