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Easy Sustainability Answers

DIY Energy Audit: Air Leaks

Adriene Hill Jul 30, 2010

Air leaks can be expensive (just think of all the heat and air conditioning we send to the great outdoors). But not to fret, the Leak Detective (you) can track them down and seal things up.

Inside your home, check for air leaks in the following places:

• Baseboards
• Places where walls and ceilings meet
• Electrical outlets
• Switch plates
• Window frames
• Weather stripping around doors
• Fireplaces
• Attic hatches
• Window air conditioners

Incense sticks can aid in your leak snooping–drafts will cause the smoke to dance around.

And, there’s another easy way to make leaks more apparent. Consider running your own pressurization test (it’ll also increase your DIY chops). Here are instructions from the Department of Energy: “First, close all exterior doors, windows, and fireplace flues. Turn off all combustion appliances such as gas burning furnaces and water heaters. Then turn on all exhaust fans (generally located in the kitchen and bathrooms) or use a large window fan to suck the air out of the rooms.” Once you do start your fans, it’ll make leaks easier to spot because outside air will be sucked in.

Sounds pretty fun, doesn’t it?

Outside your home, check the following places for gaps or leaks:

• Exterior corners
• Areas where different types of building materials meet (ie. where your chimney meets your siding)

But, before you pull out the caulking-gun, take a look at more advice (and a few warnings) about sealing your home.

(PHOTO: Flickr user etringita)

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