Do you heat or cool your house only to find that it doesn’t last very long? Your heating or cooling system cycles off and on too frequently? There are a few causes for this, but the strongest, most common reason is that your house is leaking air and is need of some home weatherization. This is worse than temperature radiating through the barriers of your home, this is actual air going through your house. That means your conditioned indoor air could literally be flying out the window. Sure, you’re probably aware of a drafty window or exterior door, or that attic vent upstairs – but what happens when you seal these obvious places up only to find that your house is drafty still and your toes are just as cold? You need to test your house for air leaks. While this can be expensive when done professionally, there are less expensive ways that cost nothing or can pay for themselves very quickly, like an air leak detector, Lets take a look at some ways to test for drafty places in your house and check out a nifty tool that will easily tell you exactly where your house is leaking air and just how much. It’s true what they say…if you were to add up all the little air leaks in your house, they would be the size of a window. Imagine that much air leaking!
Getting touchy-feely and then flamed at a drafty house
Your house has countless corners and crevices that are adjacent to the outside world. Layers of building materials, seals, lumber and insulation add up to create an air-tight box (ideally) for you to live in. Inevitably though, joining this much material together leaves room for inefficiencies and often defects, creating dozens and maybe even hundreds of tiny holes, gaps and imperfect seams that can all add up to make your house feel drafty – air moving in or out of your home causing an imbalance of pressure and mixing extreme air temperatures. How do you find all these specific air gaps and leaks in your house?
You might be surprised, but you can actually feel many air leaks in your home with your bare hands. Try it on a cold day when you have the heat one. Place your hand over an electrical outlet or edge of a door. If you do this around your house, you’ll often notice you have more air moving into your home than you thought.
Now, sometimes it’s not enough to feel your home’s air leaks directly. There may be no wind at all outside at the time you’re feeling around. Needless to say, air is still able to move in/out of your home if it’s not windy. So, we look at what’s more sensitive than your skin to tiny air movements and that’s the flame of a candle. Yes, it’s practically free and you can try this at home. With a lit candle, simply walk around your house and place it in various places that you think might be letting air in and out of your house (see list below). Make sure your central air system is not running and don’t breathe too close to the candle of course. You’ll see it dance ever so slightly at the smallest air leak. Mark these places and insulate accordingly. Read on to see how a small, “high tech” gadget can take the guess work out of finding air leaks in the home. After all, air leaks can be anywhere, and it isn’t always convenient to carry a burning candle around.
Air leak detector
Can buy at Amazon
Find house air leaks with a thermal detector
If you want to move up from the more primitive (although often effective), ways of finding leaking air gaps in your house then you’ll want to check out a thermal leak detector. This little gadget is made specifically for finding air leaks in your house. It is definitely an investment because while it’s not free like your skin or the lit candle in finding air leaks, it’s small price will return save a lot of coins from leaving your pocket. It simply helps you find air leaks you didn’t know you had, so that you can address them and keep your conditioned air inside your house where it belongs.
Easy to use, you just point this little device directly to an area you suspect may be letting air in/out of your house and watch it change. A small light scans where you’re pointing and will either stay the same or turn red (when the temperature gets warmer) or blue (when it detects cooler air). Genius, right? Yes! Especially when you consider each little air gap you find helps you to save money. This little gizmo comes with a little booklet that helps you seek out places in your home that could be causing drafts. Try this out and get your house draft-free. And if you don’t need it any more, sell it to your friend or neighbor! They’ll be happy you played a part in getting rid of air leaks in their homes. See this at Amazon, where there is a lot more info about how it works, plus very positive reviews from others who have bought this. This by far is the easiest and best way on how to find air leaks in your house.
How to find – Common places to check for home air leakage
Here are the spots in your home you should check for leaking air to help weatherize your house:
- Around all four sides of every exterior door and window (just because it’s closed and has
weather-stripping doesn’t mean air can’t move past an uneven section)
- All electrical outlets and phone jacks (air can get inside your walls and blow around until it finds an opening – check on ALL walls)
- All light fixtures, especially recessed lighting cavities
- Along all baseboards and crown molding (again, any air trapped in the wall coming from the attic/basement likes to find the tiniest of holes in which to enter the house)
Another nice usage for the air leak detector mentioned above is for your fridge. Ever find that food freezes in the fridge drawer? The detector can help you determine the right temperature needed – just check it and open or close that slot on the fridge drawer to adjust the temp.