Finding and sealing air leaks in your home is one fast and relatively easy way to take charge of your energy bill and potentially lower costs. If you think energy efficiency testing isn’t worth the time or effort, consider this: The average house has enough home air leaks to add up to a two-foot square hole. That’s like leaving a medium-sized window wide open 24 hours a day. Yikes! That might be fine on a temperate spring day, but when weather is extremely hot or cold, those home air leaks could quickly add up to some serious energy loss and higher energy costs.
A smart place to start your home air leakage testing is with an energy audit. We’ve talked before about most of the details involved in an energy audit but here’s the short version: The energy efficiency test that an auditor would perform can likely find home air leaks that the average homeowner would miss. While you can do a basic look-see yourself — we’ll give some tips below — hiring a certified professional who can do thorough energy efficiency testing is probably a better place to start.
A professional energy efficiency test, for instance, will include a blower door test.
When hiring a professional to do a home energy audit, one of the efficiency tests they can conduct is a blower door test. This test involves sealing your home up tight and then blowing a special fan that de-pressurizes your home. The blower door testing takes place both before and after your home is sealed so that the auditor can compare home air leaks and provide potential solutions.
Energy.gov notes you could save 5-30% on your energy bill by sealing air leaks suggested in an energy audit. While blower door testing is a great option if you’re looking into a home energy audit with a professional, there are a number of ways you can detect air leaks on your own with things you already have around the house.
If you want to do your own home energy efficiency testing, Energy.gov offers suggestions for how to find home air leaks. By the way, you’ll need to do this home air leakage testing even if you’re leaving it to a professional; the auditor will want to know what you’ve observed yourself to help corroborate his energy efficiency test findings.
Want more ideas on how to find air leaks in your home? This illustration shows the most common spots for home air leaks.
Beyond the paper test or dollar bill tests, there is one other popular way to detect air leaks around windows and doors. A quick “smoke test,” or building pressurization test, will help pinpoint those drafts:
This DIY home air leakage test will help focus your efforts once you start considering your sealing options.
Okay, you’ve done your home leakage testing and you know where the major home air leaks exist. Now you’ve got to plug them up. Energy.gov offers a number options Here are some steps you can take to make that happen.
For home energy savings information on how to improve insulation, sealing, and overall energy efficiency room by room, check out our home energy savings series: Attic Insulation and Basement Insulation.
Because we can’t actually see the air, it can be the invisible culprit in higher energy usage and costs. Taking a few moments to find and repair home air leaks can make all the difference.
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