Swelling and Shrinking: Why Checking for Air Leaks is ImportantOil prices are low these days, so if your wintertime heating bills have been more than you expected, there could be something else going on. It could be your heating system needs attention, or it could be you have air leaks.

Your home may be less than airtight, in which case your conditioned air could be leaking out, and cold air could be migrating inside. As seasons change from winter to spring, and you aren’t using your heating system as much, it’s a good idea to check for air leaks and repair them. You’ll want to complete this task before you turn on your air conditioner.

How to Find Air Leaks

A professional energy audit is the best way to find where energy is leaking from your home. Inspectors use professional equipment to locate leaks so they can be repaired. If you would prefer to find the leaks yourself, you can do a reasonable job by lighting an incense stick and waving it in front of any opening to the exterior of your house. If the smoke waves, then that’s a sign that air is intruding from the outside. Some of the places to check are:

  1. electric switches
  2. any opening for pipes, cables or wires
  3. around door and window frames
  4. recessed lighting
  5. attic hatch
  6. baseboards

Stop Leaking Air

Use weatherstripping, caulk or insulation to stop air leaks. Foam gaskets are manufactured to place inside electric switch boxes. Fire-rated insulated boxes are manufactured to cover recessed lighting canisters in the attic.

Check the Ductwork Too

Your ductwork could also be leaking air in unconditioned spaces, such as the attic or basement. If it’s accessible, inspect it for holes or loose segments. If you can’t reach it, hire a professional to have a look. Holes or loose segments should be repaired with mastic, foil tape and metal screws. Duct tape should not be used, as it will not hold up.

You may also need to insulate the ductwork to improve your home’s efficiency.

For more on air leaks, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing of Indianapolis.

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