HVAC systems keep your indoor air comfortable when the outside weather is intemperate – which is why air leaks in your home can be such a problem. You don’t want to put energy into heating your home just for that heat to escape into the cold winter air, or in removing the stuffy summer heat just for heat to creep back in. Leaking air can lower your home comfort and increase your energy bills, but fortunately, you can find and plug leaks around your home. Here’s how:
- Pay attention to where you can feel a draft. A cool breeze at your ankle might lead you to an uninsulated electrical outlet or a leaky floorboard, whereas windows are common culprits for a cold draft higher up in the room.
- Perform a visual inspection. Take a walk around the outside of your home. Are there places where siding has been dented or damaged? Do your exterior walls have gaps where they meet the foundation?
- Check places where wires, pipes, or other passages pass through your walls. These include the plumbing in your home, electrical outlets, cable lines, the exhaust vents of your dryer, wall-mounted air conditioners, light switch plates, fireplaces and chimneys, among other locations.
- Check any previous air sealing you’ve done. Do you have caulk on your windows? Weatherstripping around your doors? Sealed ducts? If it’s gone through a few seasonal temperature cycles, it may be beginning to degrade.
- Speak with a professional. Your local HVAC experts may be able to help you with thermal scanning, or with a building pressurization test, to really help you pinpoint where you’re losing or gaining heat.
Once you’ve located any air leaks, you can seal them. A number of tasks, such as caulking windows and weatherstripping doors, are easy to perform for a homeowner. Others, such as an insulation upgrade, may warrant professional attention.
To learn more about managing your Portland home’s thermal envelope, contact us today at Roth Heating & Cooling, or check out our website!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Norman Pogson/Shutterstock”