Finding and stopping air leaks in your home is imperative if you want to lower your energy bills and reduce your impact on the environment. Many homes – maybe even your own home – have multiple sources of energy leakage. These leaks could be occurring in your windows, door frames, electrical outlets and even the foundation of your home. Typically, these leaks occur as a result of age, improper construction or not having enough insulation. Sealing the leaks is easy – with some simple tools and hardware store bought materials, you can seal all the leaks in your home. Here is how to find and stop air leaks in your home.
First, it is important to understand that you won’t be able to visibly see all of the air leaks. In fact, most leaks are invisible. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. For instance, the air leaks in your windows will be nearly imperceptible. This is why you want to use other senses – particularly the sense of touch – to search for energy leaks. You may also want to use other tools as well, like a candle with a steady and long wick – it doesn’t need to be scented.
What is the candle for? One of the most common areas to be afflicted with energy leakage are windows. The casements, in particular, which are held together with caulking and other sealant, can become weakened over the years. When the caulking becomes dry and brittle, small air leaks occur. In order to find these leaks, you want to move your hand over the frame to feel for drafts. If you can’t pick anything up with your hands, you want to take a candle and slowly move it over the window’s casements. If you see the flame flicker or act differently, there is a good chance that you have a leak.
There may be many leaks of this nature in your home. Some may be more obvious. For instance, many homes have doors that aren’t weather-stripped – this simply means that there is nothing covering the space under the door. All access doors should have some sort of weather stripping to protect from these drafts. Some weather-stripping will come in the form of a literal strip – other will come in the form of an extender that you can put at the bottom of your door that not only protects against air leaks, but also moisture leaks.
In the end, whether you have leaks in your door frames or window frames, you want to take measures to seal the draft immediately. Window drafts can be sealed by adding more sealant – if the old sealant is flaking off, you may need to peel it off and clean the edges before you add more caulking material. Of course, you will also need a caulking gun. You want to do the same if you have leakage in other areas of your home, like utility outlets. The idea is to make your home as impervious as possible to energy leakage.