Five Signs Your Home Is Leaking Air
Air leaks can be a big, expensive issue for homeowners. They can be hard to locate and even harder to seal without the right solution. But there are several signs to look for to see if your home is leaking air.
- Drafty Home: A drafty home is the most obvious sign you have air leaks. But don’t assume they are due to your home’s doors or windows. Research shows that only 20 percent of home air leaks are from doors and windows.
- High Utility Bills: If you see an increase in your monthly utility bills, or notice it costs more to heat and cool your house compared to someone with a similarly sized home, this can be due to air leakage.
- Hot & Cold Rooms: If you live in a two-story home with a basement and notice the second floor is hot, the first floor does not reach temperature but the basement is very cold, your ductwork is probably leaking.
- Excessive Dust: Homes that quickly accumulate dust is a likely sign of duct leakage on the home’s supply ventilation system. This can cause negative pressure in the house which draws dusty air in from attics, crawlspaces, and garages.
- Indoor Allergies: Family members’ allergies act up depending on the season and your location. But if they act up frequently in the home, it’s due to outdoor air leaking in.
“If you live in a two-story home with a basement and notice the second floor is hot, and the basement is very cold, your ductwork is probably leaking.”
Air leaks make your home energy inefficient and can increase your utility bill significantly. Here are some ways you can check for air leaks throughout your home.
Focus on Basics for Home Exterior
Finding leaks outdoors can be difficult to impossible. But a visual inspection can help you find spots where the home’s interior or insulation are exposed. Easy spots to examine include where your home’s siding meets the foundation, exterior brick or chimney. In addition to looking for missing siding, check all exterior corners of the home. And check faucets to make sure they have enough caulking where pipes meet the home, along with other utilities like the gas supply or the electrical service.
Moving from outside to inside, continue checking utilities for proper caulking where they enter the home’s interior, including sink drains. Then check electrical outlets and switch plates for drafts. And if light-colored carpets next to interior walls are dirty, this may indicate a pressure imbalance in your home.
Find Your Home’s Two Leakiest Surfaces
Everyone assumes a home’s windows and doors leak the most air, but the leakiest surface of your home is the attic floor, followed by its ductwork.
As a result, it’s critical to look for plumbing and electrical vents in the attic floor and make sure they’re properly sealed. You can also run your hand along exposed ductwork to try and feel leaks, especially where pieces of ductwork are joined together.
Most of your home’s ductwork won’t be easily accessible, if at all. Professional contractors can seal your ducts from the inside, using Aeroseal duct sealing technology. This eliminates the errors and inconsistencies of manual duct sealing and ensures all of your home’s ductwork is sealed, even the inaccessible ducts located behind walls and in the attic.
“Everyone assumes a home’s windows and doors leak the most air, but the leakiest surface of your home is the attic floor, followed by its ductwork.”
Put Your Home to the (Pressurization) Test
If you find air leaks in your ductwork, your home may have a pressurization issue. Pressurization ensures air is distributed throughout your home evenly and efficiently.
A pressurization test will determine if there is a problem. It pushes air out of the home using a blower door and this test should be performed by an HVAC professional. It can help identify small problems with your HVAC system before they become big and expensive.
If you follow the above steps and determine you home is leaking, you can do something about it. Contact Aeroseal today, to speak with a professional and learn more about eliminating air leaks in your home.
By Ken Summers, vice president of training, Aeroseal
Excerpts from this story appear in the Realtor.com article, “How to Detect Air Leaks and Stop Hemorrhaging Money on Your Energy Bill.”