It's frustrating to keep turning up the thermostat only to still be chilly in parts of a room. There are a number of places where your heat can escape and cold air from outside can come in. Not only are you wasting money but your room is uncomfortable. Find where those air leaks are with these tips and get them sealed so you can enjoy relaxing in a warm, draft-free room.
Where Air Leaks Like to Hide
Your doors and windows are the most likely suspects for hiding air leaks, but any opening that runs from inside of the house and through an exterior wall can also be a problem. This can include:
- dryer vents
- water heater vents
- water pipes
- drain pipes
- bathroom vents
- stove vents
- solar tube lights
When checking for air leaks, look at anything that makes a hole in the wall and search carefully around it.
Identifying Large Leaks
Doors and windows can have large spaces around them that leak due to warped or damaged frames. Wait until dark and have someone step outside of the house. Turn the lights off in the house and shine a strong flashlight around each door and window while the person outside is checking for the light.
Doors will most likely have gaps at the bottom and top. If a door has become warped, it may bow into the house at both top and bottom causing a large gap. A little weather stripping may fill in the gaps, but if the door is seriously warped, it might be time for a door replacement to fix the air leak.
Windows may leak at the bottom edge of the frame where water can collect and rot the wood. Cracked double or triple-pane windows have lost their insulating ability. Foam insulation can be used to seal small air leaks in the window frame. Large leaks caused by wood rot or broken windows requires a service that does window installation to replace the glass or do an complete replacement to stop those leaks.
Looking for the Small Leaks
Close all doors and windows and turn the furnace fan and any ceiling fans off. Wait a few minutes for the air currents to calm down in the house. Light a stick of incense and slowly walk around the house, holding it close to all of the suspected places where a leak may happen. Look for the smoke to flicker or be pulled toward a leaking area.
In addition to the various pipes and vents mentioned above, check around these openings in your walls, even though they don't go completely outside:
- attic openings
- electrical outlets
- phone jacks
- cable TV connectors
- network jacks
These tiny openings can be pulling air out of your home into the walls and up into the attic or to the outside. Most of these leaks can be sealed with a little caulk, foam or fiberglass insulation.
If you're unsure of the best way to seal air leaks in your home, work with a heating service to identify and fix all of those drafty areas. Enjoy your warm rooms without shivering every time the wind blows outside and creates a draft in your house. You may also want to talk to a contractor about new window installation.