Sometimes improving your heating and cooling system is about creating the right conditions for energy efficiency. You can have a top-of-the-line HVAC unit with a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating or good annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating, but if your home’s conditioned air is leaking outside and/or outside air is getting in, then your home’s energy costs will go up. Air sealing your home is one of the best and least expensive ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Read these tips from CJS Heating and Air to learn where you should be checking for air gaps and leaks outside and inside your home.
Detecting air leaks with energy auditYou may notice some air leaks in your home, such as under your front door, which prompt you to search out the rest of the house. However, finding all the tiny leaks that prevent your home from being as energy efficient as you like can be a bit more challenging. The most thorough method is to have a professional come to your home and perform an energy audit. They will examine your home room by room, using specialized equipment to detect any leaks, including a blower door test and infrared cameras. The blower door test depressurizes your home in order to reveal the location of any leaks. A professional home energy audit can cost between $215 and $602, with $393 being the national average. The decision of whether or not you should spend the money is up to you. However, a lot of homeowners have tried to make their homes more energy efficient by buying new windows and HVAC replacements, but those upgrades haven’t solved their problem because the conditioned air is getting out and the outside air is getting in. It can be worthwhile to make the small investment in an energy assessment before making the larger investment of an upgrade.
Do-it-yourself air leak detectionIf you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, an exhaustive home self-assessment can also help you determine problem areas. You can perform a visual inspection outside and inside your home. On the outside of your house, you’ll want to closely examine all areas where two different building materials meet. Check outdoor water faucets, where the foundation and siding or brick meet, around the chimney, around the dryer vent, and where wires enter your home. On the inside, you’ll want to examine the following areas for any gaps or cracks that may be allowing the exchange of air:
- Door and window frames
- Electrical outlets
- Weather stripping
- Electrical and gas service entrances
- Attic hatches
- Window-mounted air conditioners
- TV, internet, and phone line entrances
- Dryer vents
- Fans and vents
- Foundation seals
- Mail slots
- Wait for a cool, very windy day.
- Turn off all combustion appliances (gas burning furnace and water heaters).
- Make sure all windows, doors, and fireplace damper and flues are closed.
- Turn on all exhaust fans that blow air outside.
- Light your incense stick and bring it around to common air leak spots. When the smoke is sucked out or blown into a room, you have a leak.