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How to Check for Costly Air Leaks

According to ENERGY.GOV, air leaks are one of the most costly flaws in your home. Air leaks allow unwanted heat exchange easily, which causes your heating and air conditioning systems to have to work harder for longer to keep your home comfortable. This means they must run more often, which costs you extra money and wears your system out faster, meaning you’ll have to repair it more often as well. Fortunately, air leaks are also some of the easiest flaws to find and fix. Read on to learn where you can frequently find an air leak and how you can fix it.

Outdoor Inspections

Finding an air leak can be done in two fairly simple ways. The easiest way is by simple visual inspection. Air leaks are frequently found in places where two different building materials meet, since this is where a home must be sealed. Some examples of this are near exterior corners, around outdoor water faucets or features (especially those with pipes extending out of the home), were siding and chimneys meet, and where the foundation meets your walls. These are all prime areas for air leaks through simple, small cracks, which in many cases can be sealed easily.

Indoor Inspections

Indoors, finding leaks can be slightly more difficult since cracks are often smaller and harder to see visually. However, a good rule of thumb to follow: if it put a hole in your drywall, it’s prone to leaks. Look Take the plastic covers off your electrical sockets, switch plates, and cable runs to see if they’re flush with your walls. Likewise, your windows and doors are both highly prone to leaks. Check the weather stripping around them, particularly along the bottoms near the sills. If you shut the window or door and feel a draft coming in, you’re probably losing significant amounts of cool or warm air this way. Also be sure to check things like baseboards along walls, attic hatches, fireplace dampers, vents, and fans, all of which could be leaking heat.

The Incense Test

Are you having trouble detecting leaks? If you can’t spot them visually or feel their effects, you can use the building pressurization test to find it. On a cool and very windy day, close all doors, windows, and fireplace flues in your home and shut off all ventilation and combustion appliances (such as your HVAC system, water heater, and furnace). Then turn on all of your exhaust fans, such as bathroom fans, clothes dryer fan, or range fan. This will create a pressure difference between the inside and outside of your home.

Light an incense stick and pass it near the edges of all common leak sites. If you notice the smoke either being sucked out of or pushed back into the room, you’ve found the source of an air leak.

A professional Palm Beach County air conditioning expert from Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC may be able to help you. With 24/7 emergency services and more than 20 years in business, we have helped hundreds of customers solve their air conditioning and heating woes and make their homes more efficient. Our mission is your complete and total satisfaction with our workmanship and service, and our NATE-certified technicians will do everything they can to resolve any issues that may emerge.

Need a HVAC system repair or maintenance service? Call Phoenix Air Conditioning today at 888.660.4337 to schedule an appointment!
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