One of the biggest causes of high energy bills are air leaks in the home’s exterior envelope. Keeping a tight barrier between the air in your home and the air outside should be a priority for homeowners year-round.
Finding Energy Wasting Air Leaks
You have the option of finding the air leaks yourself or hiring a professional. If you want to do it on your own, it’s fairly simple. You should focus your efforts on the places that most commonly experience air leakage, including windows and doors, vents to the outside, piping and wires that enter the home, and spots where building materials meet, such as the foundation and walls.
Walk the inside perimeter of your home with an incense stick or smoke pencil, moving it past likely spots for air leaks. If the smoke wavers, you’ve probably found an air leak. It’s best to do this during a windy day.
How to Seal Your Home
Once you have located places where air is leaking, it’s time to seal the gaps, holes and cracks. For moving parts (such as a door or window sash) use weatherstripping, and for stationary gaps use caulking or spray foam. Carefully read the manufacturer’s guidelines on each product before applying it.
There is one final source of air leaks to address, the attic. Make sure the attic floor is well sealed against leaks, paying special attention to the attic hatch or door and recessed lighting. A poorly sealed attic can allow warm air from the living spaces to escape in the winter, and superheated air to move into the living spaces in the summer. The attic should be properly insulated, as well, to prevent thermal transfer between the home and the attic space.
You can do it yourself following online tutorials and using fiberglass, spray foam and/or cellulose insulation, but if you want the best job done, hire a professional HVAC technician.
To get assistance eliminating energy wasting air leaks in your Bethalto or Edwardsville home, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. We have served the Metro-East area for over 60 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air leaks and other HVAC topics, visit our blog.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock