Locating Air Leaks

The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 5% to 30% per year; that’s a huge increase in energy savings — and comfort.

Step 1: Make a list of known and obvious air leaks and cold spots.(drafts).

Step 2: Going room by room, check for additional air leaks and cold spots. These areas are prone to air leaks:

  • Windows
  • Doors (if they rattle they leak)
  • Electrical outlets
  • Door Weather stripping
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Around air conditioners
  • Switch plates
  • Window frames
  • Baseboards
  • Pipes
  • Wiring
  • Foundation seals
  • Mail Slots
  • Existing caulking
  • Existing weather stripping
  • Exterior corners
  • Where siding & vents meet
  • Siding at chimney
  • Siding at foundation

Note: if you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then it leaks.

Step 3: Plug leaks with caulking and/or weather-stripping as appropriate.

Important: When sealing any home, you must always be aware of the danger of indoor air pollution and fuel-burning appliance “backdrafts.” Backdrafting is when the various combustion appliances and exhaust fans in the home compete for air. An exhaust fan may pull the combustion gases back into the living space creating an extremely dangerous and unhealthy situation in the home.

In homes where a fuel is burned (i.e., natural gas, fuel oil, propane, or wood) for heating, be certain the appliance has an adequate air supply. Generally, one square inch of vent opening is required for each 1,000 Btu of appliance input heat. When in doubt, contact your local utility company, energy professional, or heating and cooling contractor.

Source Material: US Dept. of Energy