how to tell if your home has an air leak

You’ve tried everything to lower your energy bill:

  • Set your thermostat at a temperature you’re almost uncomfortable with.
  • Used fans to cool you off or space heaters to warm you up instead of using the central system.
  • Watched less TV.
  • Diligently turned off lights in rooms you weren’t currently in.
  • Even unplugged appliances you’re not using.

So why is your energy bill still so high?

You could have an air leak in your home. It doesn’t matter what steps you take to conserve energy in your home if outside air is seeping into your house. It compromises your air circulation and makes it harder for your thermostat to maintain your selected temperature.

But how can you know for sure?

How to Tell If Your Home Has an Air Leak and What to Do About It

Window Test

When it comes to energy inefficiency, your windows are almost always the culprit. Especially if you have single-paned glass or archaically structured frames, air can escape through the sides, top, or bottom of your windows.

To see if you have an air leak through this source, simply place your hand near the edges of each window to see if you feel a draft. If your hands are already cold, you may not be able to properly tell if there is a draft. Instead, you might take a tissue and let it hang from your hand to see if it moves with a breeze.

Door Test

Just like the window test, the door test is simply feeling for a draft at the edges of your exterior-facing doors. A door draft is a little less likely, as weather stripping usually provides enough of a barrier between your cozy home and the blustery outdoors. However, your weather stripping can age and wear down over time.

Here are the doors that should be checked during this test:

  • Front Door
  • Back Door
  • Patio Door(s)
  • Balcony Door(s)
  • Garage Door

Light Test

The window and door tests can be difficult if you’re not entirely sure where the air is coming from. If it’s cold and breezy and in your home, due to a ceiling fan, box fan, or central AC that’s really putting in overtime, then you may not be able to tell if you have an air leak, just by feeling for a draft.

The light test lets you use your eyesight, rather than your tactile sense, to detect an air leak.

This test works primarily with doors (as, of course, you would be able to see light through a window). You’ll need a partner and a flashlight. While it’s dark out, have your partner stand on the other side of your front door and shine the flashlight at the door, taking extra care to shine the beam on the weather stripping and bottom of the door. If you can see light, that means your central air can escape and outside air can get in, compromising the energy efficiency in your home.

Repeat this test with all exterior doors in your home.

Repairing an Air Leak vs. Replacing Your HVAC Unit

Were your windows or doors compromised? If so, you’ll need to patch up your air leaks. You can have the weather stripping at your doors replaced by a professional or have your window edges re-caulked.

But what happens if your home doesn’t have an air leak and your energy bill is still really high?

In this case, it may be that your HVAC unit is old and unable to withstand your temperature demands. Call one of the friendly representatives at Acree to have your HVAC unit replaced by a licensed, skilled professional.