October 23rd, 2013
In prior posts, we talked about the importance of doing maintenance in the Fall such as weatherstripping and caulking doors and windows.
But we realized that not everyone knows how to look for leaks, and there’s no point wasting money on weatherstripping and caulk if you don’t need them.
So today, we’ll talk about how to look for leaks. And remember, when cold air gets in and hot air gets you, you’re losing money.
At some point, you may wish to talk to a general contractor about how to decide if you have enough insulation, or if you should add more.
First, walk around your house with a lit candle and hold it near doors, windows, and vents. If the candle flickers, then air is crossing, and you’ll need to seal it up.
You could hire a professional with an air leak detector to tell you where you’re losing air from the inside out. Or you can do a few things yourself.
First, you’ll need a cold day. Then turn off your furnace and close all windows and doors. Turn off all fans, humidifiers, and ionizers.
Then walk around with a stick of incense holding it to the edges of doors, windows and vents and note where the smoke goes. Those are the areas you need to plug up.
Windows and doors and vents are the most commonly known and probably the easiest to fix. But, the majority of air leaks are in the attic, and that can be messy to work around. One tip is to put in weatherstripping around the attic access area.
Another odd place is the dryer vent. if you have a single-flap vent, it could get caught open. Look into replacing it with a louvered vent that has four flaps.
Air can get out through your chimney, furnaces and gas-fired water heater vents. To seal these leaks, make sure you use fire resistant materials. Sheetrock, sheet metal and furnace cement caulk are all good choices.
If you never use your chimney, and never intend to use it, consider finding a way to permanently block it.
Look around your switch plates and electrical outlets. The Department of Energy also recommends shutting a door or window on a dollar bill. If you can pull the dollar bill out without it dragging, you’re losing energy.
Most of the supplies you’ll need to seal your house are available at home improvement and hardware stores. If you have trouble finding what you need, check in with Energy Federation Incorporated or Resource Conservation Technology, both venerable energy-efficient housing product distributors.