HOW TO CHECK YOUR HOME FOR AIR LEAKS
With the winter season upon us, this is the time of year when it’s important to make sure your home is properly sealed. Air leaks can make it difficult to keep your home properly heated and can lead to high utility bills. A quick guide to checking your home for air leaks is easy as ABC: Attic, Basement and Conditioned (indoor) air. The attic and basement are best checked by HVAC professionals, and the Conditioned air (your indoor living space) can be easily checked by the homeowner using these simple home test methods.
DO AN AIR PRESSURE TEST. You can quickly check for air leaks with a simple test using household items. Seal your home by completely closing all doors, windows, and vents and turning off exhaust fans. Then pass a burning incense stick along the edges of all doors, windows, and other openings to the outside. If the smoke is forced into or away from an opening, you’ve found a leak.
INSPECT DOORS AND WINDOWS. To check for leaks near your windows, attempt to rattle the frame. This will reveal whether there are gaps along the edges. Also check for cracks in the frame, loose screws in locks, or gaps anywhere in the window.
FIREPLACES are a little tricky, depending on the type and how much you use them. Perform a visual check: Using a flashlight, poke your head inside the fireplace to look up into the chimney. If you have a throat damper, you can tell if it is closed if you see a barrier above your head. If you can see up into the flue, the damper is open. Closing the damper when not in use will prevent excess air from escaping.
DOOR HINGES AND THRESHOLDS are common places for air leaks. Deteriorated weather stripping can also lead to leaks and the door itself can develop cracks that allow air to pass through, creating a leak.
SKYLIGHTS are a little trickier to test and examine, but you can still do it yourself. Check for water stains near your skylights, which is a dead giveaway of a leak. If you suspect there is one, you’ll have to get on the roof for a closer inspection. Look for loose shingles, cracked roofing cement, and debris that may be the cause of an air leak.
These easy check methods should give you a good start on having a warm, enjoyable holiday season... from floor to "sealing"!
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