Is Your Home Leaking Air…and Dollars?Posted on
It may feel like your electric bill is eroding your piggy bank, month-by-month. If your home has air leaks, the EPA estimates you could be saving up to 35% on your energy bill if you repaired them and created an airtight home. The good news is, there are simple D-I-Y steps you can take to regain your power.
The more official-sounding term for this exercise is that you’re “conducting an energy audit.” But if you’re not in the HVAC industry, you’re more apt to tell that overly curious neighbor, “Don’t be alarmed by my pajamas — I’m just out here checking for air leaks.” (Note: Pajamas outdoors are optional.)
Air leaks are home age agnostic – they are found in new construction just as often as the wedding cake-like Victorian home in the older part of town. Either home has the usual suspects – those culprits leaking air in or out. There are more ominous aspects to those leaks – aside from the energy bills – that you may not have considered before. Leaks are magnets for attracting moisture, noise, dust, pollutants, insects and rodents. (Yes, many of you reading this just read “Leaks attract spiders and mice! Yikes!”). Without further adieu, don your most dapper Sherlock Holmes cap and investigate these usual suspects:
- Floors Walls and Ceilings (baseboards, electrical outlets and switch plates)
- Fireplace Dampers
- Ducts (your exhaust vents, hood vent, AC line and dryer vent)
- Plumbing Entries (the plumbing vent stack and the outdoor faucet)
- Electrical Outlets
- Recessed Lighting
- Fans and Vents
- Cable TV and Phone Lines
- Attic Hatches
- Wall or Window-Mounted Air Conditioners
You might ask, “So, how does one perform this D-I-Y energy audit?” Here are some tricks of the trade:
- Place a dollar bill in your doors and windows and then shut the doors and windows on it. If you can pull it out, you need to caulk.
- Get tissue paper or newspaper – something lightweight – and place it in front of an area you think is leaking. If it moves, you’re right. It is.
- Wait until it’s dark outside, and then have someone inside of your home shine a flashlight. If you can stand outside and see rays of light coming through, those are areas that need to be sealed.
- Look at any areas outside where varied building materials meet, such as where your siding or brick hits the cement foundation, exterior corners or faucets. Air often leaks in those areas.
If you hire a pro to conduct an energy audit, they will do the blower door test. They use a special fan to depressurize your home. They will test your home before you seal it tight, and afterwards, and then compare the two readings to identify the level of leakage.
As always, Roscoe Brown stands ready to perform your energy audit. Just give us a call at 1-888-MYROSCOE.