How to detect cold air infiltration in your home
Brrr… Feel a draft of cold air at home? If all your windows and doors are closed, that could indicate a problem. You may have a cold air leak if there are areas of your home that stay cold even with the heat on.
Even a small
air leak can make your house less comfortable and raise your heating bill. Read
on to learn how to detect cold air leaks and fix them.
Why is it important to locate air infiltration?
Cold air leaks
can make your home less comfortable. No one likes to sit beside a poorly insulated window. If cold air seeping in past the doorframe means less than
total protection from the storm, it’s a good idea to fix it!
it’s also a question of energy efficiency. Leaky windows let heat escape from
the house. Your heating bill will increase as a result. According to CAA Québec, “Officials with Quebec’s Agence de
l’efficacité énergétique (AEE) estimate that ‘typical Quebec homes lose about
30% of their heat because of hidden air leaks in various locations throughout
Where to check for air leaks
Air leaks can
occur throughout the home. Some areas are especially vulnerable to insufficient airtightness:
- windows and frames
- exhaust vents
- trapdoor to the attic
- electrical outlets or wiring holes
- around pipes and ductwork
- where the foundation meets the walls
may be caused by inadequate installation but it is usually due to aging of
doors, windows, or caulking.
How to find cold air leaks
In cold weather, cold air leaks are easily found. A simple visual inspection may suffice to reveal that a door’s weatherstripping is worn out.
Here are some
simple methods for finding other, less obvious places for cold air leaks.
Light a candle
or a stick of incense and walk around areas where you suspect there’s a gap in
airtightness. Drafts will make the smoke or flame dance.
Using the same principle, you can also hold out a tissue or a feather in suspected areas to look for signs of a leak.
Another way to
look for air leaks is with a powerful flashlight. Wait until it’s dark outside,
and turn off all the lights.This method takes two people. One shines the light
around suspected leaks, such as door frames, and the other watches on the other
side to see whether light passes through.
How to fix air leaks
airtightness can be a simple fix. It may be enough to redo the caulking or
replace the weather stripping. You can also use insulating plastic film on the
windows in winter.
Note: improving airtightness may augment moisture in the house or walls. For serious air leak issues, it’s best to consult a specialist.