What’s the Probability of an Air Leak in Your Home?
Heating and Cooling is the largest energy expense for a typical home in the U.S. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy use in most homes?
Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter can waste a lot of your energy dollars. It’s like tossing cash out the window!
Why take the risk?
Now is the perfect time to make sure your home is optimized. You want to keep the atmosphere inside your home comfortable when temperatures begin to fluctuate outside. One of the best ways to do that is check for any air leaks.
25% of your home’s heat is lost through small cracks and holes throughout your home. Taking the time to make sure your home is properly sealed and insulated will lower your total energy usage. Similarly insulating your attic, walls, sealing cracks, and openings will prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
Benefits of Proper Sealing and Insulation
By taking steps to ensure that your home is adequately sealed and insulated, you will save both energy and money. When your home can hold on to the cool air provided by your central air conditioning system, you can maintain the comfort level you desire when it’s hot outside.
However, failing to properly seal and insulate your home will allow that cool air to leak out through your doors and windows. As a result, your HVAC unit will run longer and still be unable to maintain a consistent temperature throughout your house.
When your home is sealed tightly, there is less chance of your cool air escaping. Your system will run less often, while keeping you just as cool and comfortable.
Air Leaks Let Cool Air Escape
When air leakage is present throughout your home, your cooling costs and energy usage will be higher. Air leaks allow your home to lose its precious cool air and let the hot air in. As the warm air mixes with the cool air, the temperature in your home becomes uncomfortable and can be inconsistent from room to room.
How to Detect Air Infiltration
A professional HVAC technician can perform a home evaluation to determine whether your home is leaking air and make recommendations on how to remedy the situation.
According to the International Association of Certfied Home Inspectors, you can use an incense stick to locate leaks if you’re interested in a DIY solution. Air infiltrates into and out of your home through every hole and crack. Walk around your home with an incense stick, paying particular attention to windows, doors, and outlets. If the smoke starts to blow sideways, you’ve found the source of a potential air leak. Weather stripping, caulking, or even spray foam can seal these leaks and keep your house comfortable year round.
E-Conservation has published a Home Energy Management Series that provides homeowners with a detailed list on how to find air leaks. One of their suggestions is to look for cobwebs as spiders tend to put their webs where there is airflow.
photo credit: Nachi.org
Inadequate Insulation Lets the Heat In
If you don’t have adequate insulation, your HVAC system will have to run longer to keep your house cooler, resulting in higher energy bills. When you have the proper amount of insulation, your system can run more efficiently and for shorter periods of time. Adequate insulation will save you money on your energy bill and keep your house cooler.
You should check the insulation in your walls, especially around windows, door frames, and especially your attic for any air leaks. Attics hold a lot of potential for letting cool air escape. The air in an attic can also become very hot. If your attic isn’t well insulated, the hot air can enter your home, making your air conditioning unit run more often, work harder, and cost you a lot more each month.
For more informative solutions to resolving air leaks, Houselogic wrote an extensive article on 8 Easy Ways to Seal Air Leaks Around the House. Always wear necessary protective gear when taking on any home improvement project and be sure consult a professional when technical expertise is required.
Taking the time to make sure your home is properly sealed and insulated will save you money on your energy bills and ensure you and your family stay cool and comfortable all year long.
If you detect more complex issues during your self inspection for drafts and possible leaks, you may need to have a professional inspection done in your home.
Keeping your system running smoothly depends on proper maintenance and service needs. Now is the best time to have your system checked before problems arise. Being proactive now will help ensure your comfort which each changing season.