The Department of Energy reports that in a typical home, heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy used. This means this is the largest energy expense for the average American home. This also means that warm air leaking into your home during the summer months translates into wasting tons of energy dollars. Here’s some preventive measures you can take to avoid wasting both energy and money in your home.
How to Check for Air Leaks
Ideally, you would want to have a professional HVAC technician come to your home to perform a full home evaluation in order to determine if there is any air leakage. After such an inspection, the technician will be able to make recommendations on how to remedy any issues found. If you want to do a preliminary check for air leaks, you can light an incense stick and walk around your home with it, closely examining common areas for leaks and holes.
Any time you notice the smoke blowing sideways is an indication that you have found a leak that can be letting in air.
It’s also important to check your ductwork for leaks especially if it is located in an attic or basement. If you are able to access your ductwork and find leaks, you can fix disconnected or leaking segments using metal screws and foil tape but preferably mastic sealant.
Some of the Most Common Places for Air Leaks
Holes and cracks in your home can develop anywhere, however the most common places you are likely to find them are:
- Around doors and windows
- Between exterior doors and the floor
- By baseboards
- Around attic hatch doors (if your attic is unconditioned)
- Near electric switches
- Around any openings for wires, cables or pipes in exterior walls
- By recessed lighting fixtures
How to Fix Air Leaks
Even small cracks and holes can cause up to 25% of cool air to escape from your home, forcing your HVAC units to work overtime. A properly sealed home will lower both your energy bills and usage. Insulating your attic and walls and sealing any cracks or holes will prevent warm air from escaping from your home. Many fixes are simple and can be done on your own or with the help of a home repairman. Here are some solutions to common issues:
- Apply weather-stripping, caulk or insulation to fix air leaks around doors and windows.
- Add a door sweeper to the bottom of exterior doors to prevent air from escaping.
- Install fire-rated, insulated covers over recessed lighting canisters.
- Apply thin beads of caulk between baseboards and drywall.
- Attach foam board to the door and weather-stripping around the opening perimeter of attic hatches.
- Use weather-stripping or insulation around wires, cables, and pipes running through exterior walls.
- Install foam gaskets inside switch boxes.
Avoid Running Up Your Energy Bills This Summer
Without adequate insulation, your HVAC system will be forced to run longer to keep your house cooler, which means higher energy bills for you. By ensuring your home is properly insulated and checking for air leaks in your home, you can save yourself money and energy in the long run.
It is also recommended to schedule an inspection of your air conditioning unit prior to summer’s arrival to ensure your unit is working properly and have any routine maintenance done. To schedule an appointment, contact us today at (732) 823-4036 or fill out our form online.