How to Check your Home for Air Leaks

Does your home feel a bit drafty in some spots? Not only do they feel uncomfortable, but the chill will cost you money on your energy bills. The last thing you want is for warm air to be leaking out of your home during the colder months of the year or cooler air to be escaping during the heat of the summer. If you check your home for air leaks, you will be able to take measures to seal them and make your home more energy efficient.


Common Sources of Air Leaks

Some of the air leaks in your home will be relatively easy to find, since you have felt them. Windows and doors are not necessarily the biggest sources of air leaks in your home; the most significant ones are likely hidden in your basement or attic.

  • Knee walls (walls that support attic rafters)
  • Attic opening
  • Plumbing vents
  • Cable TV, electrical outlets, phone lines
  • Recessed lights
  • Furnace ducts
  • Basement rim joists (point where foundation and wood framing meet)


Check your Home for Air Leaks

To test your home for air leaks, wait until the weather is cool and windy. Turn off any appliances that create air disturbances. Close all doors and windows. If you have a fireplace, make sure that the flue is closed as well.

Light a stick of incense and hold it close to any points where you suspect air leakage might be a problem. If the smoke from the incense begins moving unsteadily back and forth or you see it either sucked out of or blown back into the room, you have an air leak.

You can also light a candle to check for air leaks. Hold a lit candle up carefully near areas where you think you may have a leak. Observe how the flame reacts. If you see the light swaying or bounding, it is a sign of an active leak.


Deal with Air Leaks

Once you know where your home’s air leaks are, you will be able to take steps to deal with them. Caulk can be used on holes measuring 1/2 inch or less and spray foam is the right product for larger holes up to three inches. Use weatherstripping on doors and windows (things that move).

You can use self-adhesive weather stripping on windows or install a door sweep between the bottom of the door and the threshold. Install foam gaskets behind electrical outlets on exterior walls to seal them up.


Adding weather stripping around older windows and doors will only help to seal air leaks temporarily. Replacing them with newer, energy-efficient ones will make your home more comfortable during the winter and lower your heating and cooling costs, too. George Kent offers quality products and installation on your project. Ask us about our convenient financing, too!

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