Air leaks are a huge problem in the winter and the main reason why it’s so cold in the house even though you spent a ton on central heating. The leaks by themselves can lower the heating efficiency by 30% or more. Finding them and insulating your home in every possible way is going to be the primary concern of an energy audit.
The most likely place where leaks are located are widows. You have to check them from inside and outside as well, if possible. The easiest way to detect leaks can be using your hand — try to find small streams of cool air along the perimeter of a window. Another smart method to locate them would be to light up an incense stick and watch for smoke behavior. If it strays, there is a leak. However, the best possible tool for this task is an infrared camera. Once you’ve found the leak, use some caulk and weatherstrip seals to insulate the window.
Here are the places you need to check apart from windows:
- Doors. Use weatherstrip seals. When examining doors, don’t forget the bottom and the threshold – it should be installed or replaced if you detect a leak.
- Outlets and switch plates. Basically, those are just holes in your walls. Foam or rubber gaskets will seal them off.
- Places where the wires and pipes come into your house. Spray foam is the go-to choice here.
- Joints between floor and walls, ceiling and walls. Here caulk or spray foam work best.
- The basement and the attic are considered especially problematic, being places with lots of holes and cracks. It’s reasonable to seal off the attic and basement hatches completely. Be careful not to block the vents with insulation. Caulk is good for small holes and foam is good altogether.