According to Energy Star, between 25 and 40 percent of the energy used to heat and cool your home is wasted due to air leaks. Air leaks are exactly what they sound like: places where air escapes into or out of your home through cracks and holes. Air leaks not only put a strain on your HVAC system and allow cold drafts to enter your home, but they can also affect indoor air quality and allow moisture, pests and dust to enter. Noise. Air leaks are incredibly common in homes that are 10 to 20 years old or older, and most Americans have no idea this is a problem they are facing. Below we describe some of the most common places you can find air leaks in your home and what you can do to fix them.
The Problem with Air Leakage
When air leaks occur, air flows in and out of the home, causing problems for your HVAC unit, affecting your comfort, and wasting energy. As they say in South Brunswick, when there is an air leak, all of the “purchased air” escapes: you end up paying for more air to heat or cool than you need, which makes your HVAC unit work louder than necessary. When air enters your home, it contains moisture, allergens, and pollutants that clog your HVAC unit’s air filter and put new strain on the system.
When people hesitate to make their homes airtight, it’s because of the idea that homes need to “breathe.” » Although you need to keep fresh air circulating in your home, using air leaks for natural ventilation means filling your home with air. Air coming from above your garage containing car exhaust or air from a garden bed containing pollen and insects.
Air Tightening your home means you can choose when and where ventilation occurs: through open windows, bathroom and kitchen vents, or a mechanical ventilation system such as an attic fan, attic vent, or underfloor vent. Although it is possible to over-caulk or over-tighten your home, it is very difficult to do so unless your home is 10 years old or younger.
Where to Find Air Leaks in Your House
Air leaks are easier to detect in cold, windy weather. Some leaks, such as from a drafty window or door or from a large appliance such as an oven or refrigerator, are easy to spot. You can literally feel the difference in temperature in these areas, especially in the winter months. When in doubt, a quick visual inspection can help you identify most leaks in your home. Here are some common areas where cracks and gaps can occur, leading to air leaks:
- Door and window frames
- Electrical outlets
- Where plumbing passes through to exterior walls
- Places where electrical cords or gas lines enter the house
- Phone and cable chord entry points
- Bathroom and kitchen vents and fans
- Dryer vents
- Recessed lighting
- Basement wall penetrations
- Attic entrances and whole home fans
The Department of Energy provides an excellent chart that shows exactly where to look for air leak problem areas in your home. You can also purchase infrared heat guns to help you locate the source of cold drafts.
If you’re ready to take the next step beyond a visual inspection, you can hire a qualified technician to perform an energy assessment, specifically a door leak test where technicians turn off your HVAC unit and depressurize your home. toxic products. Smoke pens or infrared cameras to detect air leaks.
How to Fix Air Leaks in Your House
If you want to repair your air leaks yourself, caulking, foam caulking, and weatherstripping are easy and inexpensive ways to repair many air leaks in your home yourself. Caulking is a great tool around door and window frames and for small gaps around light fixtures and frames like attic fans and recessed lights. For larger holes, you can use foam sealant that reaches into hard-to-reach areas, such as where pipes run through external walls or around telephone or cable entry points. Foam and caulk can, in most cases, be cut and painted to ensure repairs are not obvious.
Weatherstripping is the air sealant of choice for all moving areas, especially windows and doors. You can easily attach rubber weatherstripping to the bottom of your front door or install adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping in window gaps.
If you want professional air sealing: Professional air sealing can significantly reduce your energy and utility bills and extend the life of your HVAC unit. Professional waterproofing typically includes metal flashing around your roof and chimney areas and increased insulation, in addition to caulking and gasket protection. This also typically includes spray foam insulation, which can be expensive but provides excellent air sealing because it gets into gaps between walls that may not be insulated in an older home. However, keep in mind that your professionals may not be able to use spray foam insulation with a gas HVAC unit because the unit must draw air around itself to burn.
South Brunswick HVAC Installation and Maintenance
Carrano Air is committed to ensuring your HVAC equipment is operating as efficiently as possible and helping you avoid emergency repairs. Although our experienced HVAC technicians are highly knowledgeable about how to clean and maintain equipment, sometimes factors outside of the HVAC equipment play an important role in its longevity. Air sealing falls into this category: it’s a great way to keep your HVAC unit healthy for years to come without the need for HVAC maintenance.
If you’re concerned that air leaks are causing you to waste money on your energy bill or overload your HVAC system, first schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment to make sure that’s where the problem lies. Call Carrano Air HVAC Contractors Inc. at 732-329-3784 or fill out our online form. We would be happy to inspect your HVAC unit and give you our best advice.