There’s something deep within the heart of a person that makes them want to own their own homes; a place of their own where they can escape from the work of the day to relax and recharge in comfort and safety. However, if your home is suffering from air leaks and drafts, it can quickly undermine the otherwise comfortable environment found within your home. Even worse, air leaks can increase the costs of your utility bills due to your HVAC system having to work harder to heat and cool the air that circulates throughout your house. While no one wants to deal with drafts or air leaks in their home, doing so can be an excellent opportunity for those in the DIY (do-it-yourself) community to show their skills. It’s also a great project that those suffering from cabin fever can use to entertain themselves and fight off the winter blues. If you want to fix air leaks in your home, here are a few tips you can follow.
The first thing you need to do is to know where air leaks are most common. If you’ve lived in your house for any length of time, you probably have already found a few by merely feeling a chill in that area. While you may think that doors and windows are the most prominent culprits, the reality is that the majority of air leaks come from areas that are hidden in the basement or attic of your home. Areas such as knees walls (the side walls that give support to attic rafters), attic doors/openings, wiring ports/holes, vents, recessed lighting fixtures, ductwork are some of the most likely culprits. If you think you may have an air leak in these or other areas, you can do a visual inspection to find the most obvious causes. While many air leaks can be found by visually inspecting your home, others will be more difficult to find. One way to find a less visible air leak is to do a simple, do-it-yourself smoke test. This can be done by simply lighting a stick of incense on a cool, windy day, with all appliances and furnaces turned off. Hold the incense near the area where you suspect an air leak. If the smoke begins to move unsteadily from side to side or if it’s sucked out of the room or blown into it, you have an air leak.
Once the air leak has been found, you’ll need some tools to rectify the problem. Caulk and spray foam is useful for sealing up permanent fixtures like window frames. Caulk is more useful if the hole is a 1/2 inch large or smaller, while spray form is preferred for holes ranging from 1/2 inch to 3 inches. Weatherstripping can also be useful for things such as doors and operable window. Depending on the type of material and complexity of the project, you may also need some special materials such as high-temperature caulk and metal flashing. While you’re working to seal your home, make sure to have it tested for radon and carbon monoxide to ensure no harmful materials are being trapped in your home.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s helpful to know where to begin. You should prioritize the work to be done based on what will provide the most substantial opportunity for increased comfort while decreasing energy costs. The attic should be first, followed by the basement and crawl spaces. Once these have been accounted for, you’ll want to move on to securing doors and windows and last walls. Any other areas can be found by utilizing the smoke test mentioned above.
For more information about do-it-yourself projects, or for professional heating and air conditioning maintenance or help, please contact the HVAC experts at Greenway Heating & Cooling in Kingman, AZ. We’re confident we have the right solution for your needs!