It’s subtle and easy to miss if you aren’t paying attention, but each little gap around your windows and doors provides an unwelcome pathway for airflow.
In the winter, air leaks allow frigid cold air to pour in. During the summer, your air conditioner fights to keep up with the influx of hot, humid air from outside. Your home’s energy efficiency suffers.
The solution is simple: save yourself some money by learning how to check or air leaks in windows and doors.
Start with the most basic means of leak detection – your eyes. Using a flashlight to help you, visually inspect the entire area around the interior and exterior sides of your doors and windows. Note any gaps or cracks that you see.
A two-person approach to this technique involves positioning one person on either side of the door or window. Slowly run the flashlight around the edge of the frame. If the person on the other side of the door or window is able to see the light through the frame, there is a gap.
Smoke provides another visual clue to the presence of air gaps. To use smoke for tracing airflow, first close all your home’s windows and doors. To avoid tainting the results with errant sources of air flow, turn off any appliances that work using combustion – oven, stove, range, space heaters and furnaces.
Create a negative pressure environment inside your home by turning on the exhaust vent fans in your kitchen and bathroom. With the fans on and the doors/windows closed, the air pressure inside your home will be lower than the air pressure outside. The pressure differential means that air will only flow in, not out of your home.
Now you are ready to use smoke to help you locate any sources of air inflow. To do this, slowly and methodically move an incense stick around the edges of windows and doors. In each position, hold the stick still for a moment and observe the smoke. If smoke rises straight up, no leak is detected. If the smoke column fluctuates and shifts away from the window or door frame, there is airflow coming through.
Visual and smoke-based inspections will allow you to identify the presence of a leak, but they can’t quantify the impact the leak is having on the thermal stability of your home.
An infrared thermometer test will show temperature differentials. This allows you to not only pinpoint the exact location of the leak but also provides data on just how severe the leak is.
On a very hot or very cold day, use the thermometer to compare the temperature all the way around the frame of a closed door and window. If you find an area of abnormal heat or cold, it can indicate a leak.
Once you have determined the source and severity of the leak, its time to fix or replace the product. Many leaks can be sealed with caulking. For doors, an adjustable threshold or new weather-stripping may also remedy the situation.
If the leak is more severe, it is time to call in the experts. We can assess your situation and provide a plan for fixing it. Just contact us and schedule a free consultation.