Air leaks are at the top of the list when it comes to reasons why homeowners aren't enjoying maximum efficiency from their HVAC systems. Minute cracks throughout your home can let your conditioned air leak out, while allowing unconditioned air inside, compromising your heating and cooling efforts and boosting your utility bills.Learn how to deal with leaking air, and improve your home's efficiency before cooling season arrives.
Where Most Air Leaks Are Found
Cracks in your home can develop anywhere but are most common in these locations:
around doors and windows
between the exterior doors and the floor
around attic hatch doors (if your attic is unconditioned)
around openings for wires, cables and pipes in exterior walls
recessed lighting (again, if the attic is unconditioned)
You can find leaks by lighting an incense stick and waving it in front of these places. If the smoke wavers, you have a leak.
Fixing Air Leaks
1. Fix air leaks around doors and windows by applying weatherstripping, caulk or insulation.2. Apply a door sweeper to the bottom of exterior doors. Make sure the door moves freely along the floor without hanging up.3. Apply thin beads of caulk between baseboards and drywall.4. For attic hatches, attach foam board to the door, and weatherstripping around the opening perimeter.5. Use weatherstripping or insulation around wires, cables and pipes running through exterior walls.6. Install foam gaskets inside switch boxes.7. Install fire-rated, insulated covers over recessed lighting canisters.
Don't Forget the Ducts
If you can access your ductwork, check it for leaks, particularly if it is located in an unconditioned space such as the attic or basement. Fix leaks or disconnected segments with metal screws, foil tape (no duct tape -- it won't hold up) and mastic sealant.You might also think about insulating your ducts to stop heat or cooling loss in the unconditioned spaces.Boost your home's efficiency by fixing air leaks. Then, how about putting the money you save on utilities toward an upgraded HVAC system from Air Assurance of Broken Arrow?
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air leaks and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273.