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How to Detect Air Leaks in Your St. Louis Area Home

small_8677186528Do you have trouble keeping your utility bills low, even if your heating and cooling system is efficient and well-maintained? One common problem that impacts the overall efficiency of an otherwise efficient home is air leaks. Today we’re going to talk about how to detect air leaks in your home and what to do with the leaks that you find!

What are air leaks?

Air leaks are any cracks or openings around the perimeter of your home that allow outside air to sneak indoors. When air leaks are present, the temperature of your home can be altered and your furnace and air conditioner will have to work harder to maintain your desired temperature level. As a result, air leaks can significantly raise your heating and cooling bills.

How to detect air leaks in your home

There are a number of different do-it-yourself methods for detecting air leaks in your home. Some of the best of those include:

  • Make note of any indoor drafts. One of the most obvious signs of costly air leaks is when you can feel a draft blowing through your closed windows and doors. Make note of these troublesome areas, because they will be some of the most important to seal up.
  • Inspect your home’s exterior. Take a walk around the exterior of your home and inspect all of the spots where pipes or electrical wires protrude through the foundation. If there is any extra space around these openings, you’ll want to seal them up. Also, make note of any broken or worn out weatherstripping around your doors and windows.
  • The light test. One simple way to check for air leaks around your doors and windows is the “light test.” This can be done in one of two ways. One method is to look for any sunlight that peers through the frames around your doors and windows. If you can see sunlight from inside, you know you have a leak. You can also perform this test at night with a flashlight. Have someone stand outside of your home while you shine a flashlight around your door and window frames. If they can see the flashlight shine through in any of these spots, you’ll know you found a leak.
  • The incense test. Another popular method for detecting home air leaks is to light incense and move them around your window and door frames. If the smoke from the incense is blown or sucked into the frame, that area likely has a leak.

What to do about your home’s air leaks

The best materials for sealing up air leaks in your home are:

  • Caulk for smaller cracks and openings.
  • Spray foam insulation for larger gaps and openings.
  • Weatherstripping for the areas around your windows’ and doors’ moving parts.
  • Door sweeps for the bottom of your doors where they meet the floor.

If you have any questions about how to detect air leaks in your home, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Charles heating and air conditioning contractor. We service the St. Louis area, including towns like St. Peters, Town and Country and Weldon Spring.

photo credit: di.wineanddine via photopin cc