Do you feel that draft? If outside air can get in, inside air can get out. Air leaks in your home add up to higher utility bills, but there are things you can do, both DIY and by hiring a home services contractor to not only lower your bills but increase your comfort.
A cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs is to reduce the amount of air that leaks out of your home. Inspecting and repairing doors and windows and making repairs or adding weatherproofing not only cuts bills but improves durability and makes indoor air healthier.
Your home is likely your most valuable possession. If air is leaking in, water can be leaking in as well, and both can impact the value of your home.
Use a Negative Pressure Test to Check for Leaks
It would be nice if all homes were balanced homes with equal air pressure, perfect foundations and strong building envelopes.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. As professionals know, those things can fade as time goes on. Air barriers slowly deteriorate, and air can seep in and out of your home.
A DIY test for leaks in your home is called a negative pressure test. You’ll need a stick of incense or a lit candle and a pad of paper and a pen.
Now it’s time to play detective. First, take a close look at your windows, doors and skylights to stop air leaks and detect the gaps and rot that let the outside air in. Then grab your pad and your incense or lit candle.
- Lock all doors, windows and skylights to seal the house.
- Close all dampers and vents.
- Turn on any kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
- Now, pass your incense stick or candle along all openings—windows, doors, fireplaces, outlets, skylights—to find any air coming in from the outside. Wherever you find a problem, write down the room and the location.
Now that you have found the leaks, how do you eliminate them?
Pinpoint Window Problems
Air leaks from windows can be caused by a number of problems, including gaps and rot in frames, deteriorated caulk, cracked glass, failed glazing and latches that don’t fully close.
Give your windows a thorough inspection. Some fixes are definitely DIY jobs, but others will require the help of a skilled home services contractor. Inspect your windows this way:
- Give the window a little shake. If they rattle, that means the frames are not secure, so heat and air conditioning can leak out and rain can seep in. Some caulk and a few nails into the framing will fix this, but unless you are an accomplished DIYer, this is a job best left to professionals.
- Look around, not through the windows. If you can see the outside from around the window, you’ve got gaps. Seal air leaks by caulking and weather stripping around frames. Again, for a thorough job, hire a professional.
- Inspect your window panes for cracks. Have cracked panes replaced.
- Check around window panes for missing or dried, cracked glazing. Glazing is best done by a contractor.
- Check locks and latches. If they don’t work correctly and close completely, there’s something wrong. Call your home services company.
- Make sure windows operate properly. Check that double-hung windows slide smoothly up and down. If they don’t, run a knife or thin putty knife around the frame and sash to loosen any dried paint. Tighten cranks on casement windows and check that top locks fully grab latches.
Some older windows can be repaired and save you money over new windows. Talk to your contractor to find the best solution.
Fixing Door Leaks
You know your door is leaking after doing the pressure test, but how do you find out exactly why, and what can you do about it?
Let’s take a closer look:
- Check doors for cracks. These weaken their ability to stop air leaks.
- Make sure hinges are tight and doors fit securely in their thresholds. If not, call your home services contractor.
- Take a look at the upper corners. Whether your door is sagging or bowed or just not making proper contact with the weatherstrip to seal out air and water, the upper corners of your frame could be the problem. This requires a professional fix.
- Inspect weatherstripping. Replacing weatherstripping is definitely a DIY job. Weatherstripping provides a consistent, compressed seal and is usually made from a soft, flexible material that wicks moisture around your door. When this material begins to age, it may tear or become so compressed that the strip no longer seals. If you can see light around a closed door, it may be time to reinstall your weatherstripping.
- Check the door sill. Also called a threshold, that’s the area beneath the door and is attached to the floor. Adjust as necessary, or apply weatherstripping to the door itself—there are products specially made for this purpose.
Dependable Home Services Can Find and Stop Air Leaks
From applying weatherstripping to repairing wood rot, our experts can find and fix air leaks in your home.
At Dependable Home Services, our customers are like family to us, so you always get our best:
- A clear and honest evaluation
Your home is your largest investment and not something you want to gamble with. We make sure you understand everything before, during and after the job.
- Work is managed by the owner
Whether fixing other contractors’ errors, repairing cracks in your foundation, installing new siding or delivering some other home improvement service, we start every project right and make sure it’s done right no matter what. Our owner manages every project from start to finish.
- Satisfaction guaranteed
We work with precision and uncompromising attention to detail and do our best to make your project an enjoyable experience.
Our price, craftsmanship and serious attention to detail mean that our customers return to us again and again with new projects. Contact us today for a free consultation and no-obligation quote. We also offer discounts for senior citizens and military members.