Plumbing Tips

Quick Tips For Sealing Air Leaks in your Home

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In a home audit by CReturns in Edmonton, Alberta an infared camera reveals heat leakage around the windows.A family generally spends one-third of their annual cooling and heating budget on air that enters the house through leaks, cracks, and gaps. This is often ignored by homeowners. Do you know how much money your home is wasting in a year?

Sealing air leaks is a very cost-effective way to conserve energy. Drafts and leaks are most common in attics and basements, but there are a few extra details to take note of when draftproofing. Here are some you can follow along with at home.

What Is Air Leakage?

Air leaks happen when air from outside your home enters rooms, or conditioned air escapes, usually through leaks and cracks. If you're deliberately relying on air leaks as a source of ventilation, don't — you're increasing your energy costs by letting already temperature-adjusted air escape your home, and decreasing your air quality overall.

Air leakage can also lead to moisture problems, compromising the durability of your home and walls. Our technicians in Victoria make sure to always efficiently seal air leaks when working with HVAC systems, because we know that sometimes DIY is not enough.

Common Spots For Air Leaks

Coiled foam weatherstripping. Photo credit @theilr on Flickr.There can be many hidden air leaks in a home, especially in older buildings. Some of the most common spots to look for air leaks are:

  • Places where the chimney penetrates through exterior walls and insulated ceilings.
  • Plumbing that runs through insulated ceilings and floors.
  • Attic hatches and fireplace dampers.
  • Door and window moldings.
  • Areas where plaster is missing.
  • Recessed fans, lights, wiring penetrations, etc.

The best material for sealing these leaks depends on the size and location of the gaps. If you need assistance, our group of specialist technicians can find and assess the air leak and suggest a quick fix.

Quick Tips For Sealing Air Leaks

Flashing the doors and windows on a strawbale house. Photo credit  Brett and Sue Coulstock / @redmoonsanctuary on Flickr.Here are a few quick tips from our Plumbers 911 expert team for sealing air leaks on your own:

  1. Test the airtightness of your home. You can purchase or rent thermal imaging devices, or try the old-fashioned way: walk around your house on a windy day with a candle or stick of incense, and see where the flame or smoke is most disturbed.
  2. Weatherstrip and caulk your windows and doors. Make sure to completely remove any old, failing caulking before applying new sealant.
  3. Install foam gaskets on the back of outlet and switch plates.
  4. Check dirty spots in your insulation for mold and air leaks. Use low-expansion spray to seal the leaks, and install flashing.
  5. Investigate dirty spots on your carpet and ceiling paint for moisture and air leaks. Seal any leaks with caulking.
  6. Replace single-pane windows with Energy Star rated double-pane windows.
  7. Inspect windows and baseboards for gaps, and use sealant to close up large ones.
  8. Make sure your kitchen exhaust fan has a cover.
  9. Check that your dryer vent is clean and unblocked.
  10. Install sealing gaskets on thresholds and door bottoms.

If you are interested in doing the work yourself, take precautions when working in an attic. Make sure you choose to work on a cool day, and wear protective gear like gloves, disposable clothes, a half-face respirator, and double elastic mask. You want to avoid any unfortunate situations or serious health risks. It can be helpful to consult an expert before starting work, and our skilled Vancouver Island contractors are ready to serve you with the best and most cost-effective service and advice.