Cracks and openings in a home’s “envelope” (outer surfaces) allow air to enter the home. This is not only a problem in older homes, but can also be an issue with newer homes that settle, causing the cracks. Sealing these cracks and openings in your home will not only reduce heating and cooling costs, but also reduce the drafts caused by air movement.
Most homeowners know the most common areas where air leaks exist in the home: under a door, or through an electrical outlet on an external wall. Other leaks can be found by the homeowner with a candle or a smoke stick. Many small leaks, when added together, can have the same effect as leaving a window open. Some of the small leaks may be around electrical or gas service entrances, cable TV and phone lines, outdoor water faucets, around dryer vents, around air-conditioner vents and fans, and where two different surfaces meet (such as brick and siding).
Air sealing is one of the most important, cost-effective, and energy-efficient improvements you can make to your house. The most thorough and accurate way to find air leakage in your home is to hire a qualified energy auditor. We use a blower-door test (pressurize the home by blowing air in to find the leaks) in order to get you maximum energy savings.
This device depressurizes the home and will uncover many leaks that are not readily apparent. The blower door will measure the airflow through the home, and can be a good benchmark before any winterization is performed.
If you’re interested in increasing comfort in your house, as well as lowering your energy bill, you may want to consider an air leakage assessment.