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Air Leaks: How to Detect Them

Air Leaks: How to Detect ThemHow airtight is your home? If your house is older, you probably have a number of places where conditioned air escapes, and unconditioned air gets in. If your house is newer, construction is probably tighter, but you can still save energy by periodically looking for air leaks and sealing them.

How to Detect Leaks

The best means of detecting air leaks is to hire a professional energy auditor to perform a blower door test and a thermographic scan.

A blower door test involves mounting a powerful, calibrated, variable-speed fan tightly in an exterior doorway. Once it’s turned on, the fan pulls out all the air from the house, creating negative pressure and revealing where air leaks are occurring as the testing personnel note pressure differentials.

A thermographic scan involves using infrared light to test the effectiveness of a home’s insulation, both indoors or on the building’s exterior.

If you’re not prepared to schedule a professional energy audit, you may want to learn how to perform a do-it-yourself test.

Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit

A visual inspection of your home’s interior and exterior can help reveal air leaks. Look for cracks in the exterior where the foundation meets the siding, stucco or brick, around windows and doors, around exterior faucets, or on the roof where the chimneys or any other roof structures meet the roofing material.

Inside the home, check for cracks or leaks around these locations:

  • Around window and door frames
  • Anywhere that pipes, cables or wiring enter the home from the outdoors
  • Around switch plates and electric plugs
  • Around attic hatches
  • Baseboards
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Around vents and fans

Look for daylight around any of these areas, and if you see it, fill the cracks with insulation, weatherstripping or caulk.

Another way to detect leaks is to wave a lit incense stick in front of these areas and see if the smoke wavers. If it does, you have a leak that needs fixing.

For more on fixing air leaks, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company of Yuma. We’ve served our local customers with pride for 37 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about detecting air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.

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