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Managing Air Leaks in Your Home

Have you noticed a steady increase in your electric bill, despite making more energy-efficient choices and having a home comfort system with a clean bill of health? Like many homeowners, you may be losing money and energy because of an air leak in your home. Here’s some helpful information on what causes air leaks and what you can do about it.

What causes an air leak?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), an air leak is caused when outdoor air enters and indoor air leaves your house through an unwanted opening. If your home is experiencing an air leak, you may feel an uncomfortable draft in your home. This results in an increase in energy usage by causing indoor air problems.

How can I check for an air leak?

Some of the most common spots for air leaks to occur include windows, doors, baseboards, vents, fans and electrical outlets. To inspect your home for air leaks, the DOE recommends shining a flashlight over potential gaps when it’s dark outside. Light will shine through any gaps where air may be escaping. Another way to check for air leaks is to shut a window on a dollar bill. If the dollar bill comes out easily, it is safe to assume air is leaking out of or into your home. To check for leaks around doors, see if they rattle when you move them. If you can see daylight coming through around doors and windows, this is also an indication that they are not sealed properly.

Another way to ensure your home isn’t suffering from an air leak is to have a professional inspection done. Many cities offer audits to ensure your home isn’t costing you unnecessary energy and money. If you’re a Tallahassee resident, The City of Tallahassee offers free energy audits to make sure your home is properly sealed. The auditor will inspect various parts of your home and make recommendations based on your specific needs.

How should I seal a leak?

If you do find an air leak in your home, caulking and weather stripping are two ways to increase comfort and reduce air flow in and out of your home. If there are small holes around your doors and window frames, caulking these areas can help seal the leak. Weather stripping can fix leaks on objects that are not stationary, such as doors and operable windows.

Should I completely seal my home?

When you find a leak, it’s likely your first thought will be to seal every possible unwanted opening. This may not be the right solution. Proper air circulation is important in every home for the following reasons: it removes impurities, keeps mold from growing, keeps a pleasant temperature and creates a comfortable environment to live in. While it’s important to seal any unwanted holes, don’t forget to occasionally open your windows and run fans to keep the air circulating, if weather permits. This will ensure your home has healthy, breathable air.

If you suspect your home comfort system may not be working properly, make sure it’s not a common air leak costing you money. Contact Barineau Heating and Air Conditioning for an inspection, or call us at 850-580-4029.

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