During colder weather, your warm air can quickly escape through air leaks, resulting in fluctuating temperatures and needing to run your heater longer.
Natural drafts can occur around your windows and doors, but you want to be aware of any leaks in your attic or basement since these air leaks can cause more significant issues. The EPA estimates that sealing your home’s leaks can save an average of 15% off your utility bill.
If you suspect that your home has hidden air leaks, you can start by inspecting these areas:
- Window and door frames
- Recessed lighting
- Chimneys and fireplace dampers
- Attic hatch
- Vents and fans
- Pipes and wires
- Electrical outlets/wiring holes
- Meeting points for siding, chimneys, etc.
Ways To Detect Hidden Air Leaks
There are a few DIY methods you can use to start checking your home for possible air leaks and strategies that professionals use, including:
The Paper Test
Take an average piece of paper and open your door or window. Then put the piece of paper against the wall or frame and close the window or door so the piece of paper is wedged between.
Finally, give a gentle pull to see if the paper slides out easily. If it’s tightly held in place, the sealing should be good, but if it slides out, you may need to reseal or replace your window or door.
Building Pressurization Test
With this test, you can find air leaks in your home on a windy day. Temporarily turn off your water heater, furnace, and all combustible appliances.
Ensure your windows, doors, and any fireplace flues are closed. Then turn on your home’s exhaust fans or use a large window fan to suck the air out of your home. Finally, light an incense stick and move it close to areas where you suspect leaks to see if the smoke from the incense stick gets blown or sucked in a certain direction.
Blower Door Test
When performing this test, the professional completely seal your home and uses a special fan for depressurization.
Once installed in your doorway, the fan blows air throughout your home. As the pressure drops in your home, outside air tries to make its way inside, which allows the technician to find the areas with leaks.
How To Seal Air Leaks in Your Home
There are many DIY ways to seal leaks around your house, including:
- Insulating Around Recessed Lights: Check your lights to see if it’s labeled ICAT, which stands for “insulation contact and airtight.” This means there is a greater chance for air sealing, but if you don’t see this label, you can buy an airtight baffle, remove the bulb, and then push the baffle in to help seal your light.
- Plugging Stud Cavities: If you move the insulation in your attic and notice open stud cavities, you can seal them with unfaced fiberglass insulation. For larger wall areas, use foil insulation to cover the openings.
- Weatherstripping: Pull-down attic stairs and hatches generally leak plenty of air. Seal them by using caulk between the stair frame and the opening or weatherstripping around the perimeter.
If you are covering and sealing yourself, make sure to take all safety precautions and try to do attic work on cooler days. Also, wear personal protective gear such as disposable clothes, gloves, and a double-elastic mask or half-face respirator.
Why Choose Beyond Exteriors?
The best way to address all your home’s hidden air leaks is to hire a professional technician with plenty of experience and expertise. This keeps you away from the dirty work and guarantees that the job is done right the first time.
Our locally owned and operated team here in Chantilly, VA, can help. We pride ourselves on our outstanding workmanship throughout Northern Virginia, offering expert roofing, siding, and exterior services.
Call (703) 830-0863 or contact Beyond Exteriors online and get your realistic, free estimate in Northern Virginia today!