How You Can Find Air Leaks and Seal ThemAir leaks steal your conditioned air, let in air contaminants, and cause uncomfortable drafts in the cold Indianapolis winters. By sealing these leaks, you’ll reduce your heating and cooling bills while also improving your comfort.

Spot the Leaks

Air leaks occur where cracks and gaps form in the building envelope, or outer shell, of your home. These are typically found around:

  • Windows and doors
  • Penetrations for utility lines
  • Electrical outlets and light switches
  • Baseboards and crown molding
  • Ventilation fans

Leaks in the attic are often found around the access hatch, flues and chimneys, and kneewalls. The basement rim joists are another common source of leakage.

Bigger leaks are easy to find. Any window or other feature creating a draft in winter is leaking air. To find other large leaks, on a breezy day, hold a smoke pen or a burning incense stick up to potentially leaky areas. Leaking air will move the smoke.

Smaller leaks are harder to pinpoint, but just as important to seal. To find these, ask a heating and cooling technician about performing a home energy audit. The technician will bring in equipment that helps locate points of air leakage.

Apply Caulk and Weather Stripping

Use an all-purpose acrylic latex caulk to seal leaking gaps around surfaces that don’t move, such as window frames, ventilation fans, and points where pipes or wires enter the house from outdoors.

To seal leaks between surfaces that move, you’ll need weather stripping. The right type of weather stripping to use is determined largely by where you plan to use it. Foam tape can work well for casement windows, while metal tension strips are a better choice for the inside tracks of sliding and double-hung windows.

Some areas require specialized sealing devices. Install a door sweep on your exterior door to block leaks there. To stop leaks around switches and outlets, foam gaskets are available. Sealing around flues in the attic may require metal flashing in addition to high-temperature silicon caulk.

For help blocking your home’s air leaks, contact us at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the Indianapolis area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Norman Pogson/Shutterstock”

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