If there is one thing that can derail your quest for heating and air conditioning efficiency, it is the issue of air leaks. Use these tips and tests to find out if your house has air leaks:
Visual Inspection Outdoors
In some cases, air leaks leave visible gaps or signs of damage that you can rely upon for the diagnosis. Therefore, talk a walk around the house and look for these signs if you suspect your house is experiencing air leaks. Here are some of the signs you should look out for during the inspection:
- Cracks in exterior corners
- Spaces there exterior water faucets enter the house
- Damages or spaces in joints between different parts of the house, such as the joints between the foundation and the bottom of the siding or the joints between the siding and the chimney
Visual Inspection Indoors
Sings of air leaks don't just appear outdoors; they may also be visible from inside the house. Therefore, repeat the inspection, but this time from inside the house, and watch out for these signs of malfunctions:
- Gaps and spaces around electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, and gas service entrances, among other things
- Damaged weather-stripping around doors
- Damaged fireplace dampers
- Damaged attic hatches
- Doors and windows that don't close well or rattle
The Draft Test
The draft test is best done on a cool and windy day. What you do is turn off all the combustion sources in your house so that the house can depressurize. This means turning off things like water heaters and furnaces, as well as not using the fireplace. After that, close all openings such as windows and doors and then turn on all the exhaust fans (such as the bathroom fan or the stove vents); opening a single large window may also help.
Now you are ready for the test; light a candle or an incense stick or anything with a small flame and move it around the edges of the room or around the common sites for air leaks. The flame will waver, get sucked towards the room or get blown away from the room when you pass it near an air leak.
The Light Test
The light test is also relatively easy, but it only works on a dark night and you need a helper. In this case, you need to turn off all the lights in and outside the house first. After that, turn on a powerful flashlight and move it around the house or shine it on the suspected/common areas of air leaks. The helper should be out of the house trying to see the light from your flashlight. The helper should be able to see the light if there is air leaks. The only advantage of the light test is that it only works for relatively large gaps.
Contact an AC repair service for more help.