Windows 101: How to Check for Air Leaks

Air leaks, such as an under-the-door draft, are easy to detect. But you’ll need to find the less obvious gaps to completely air seal your home. A blower door test, done by a qualified technician, can reveal the location of many leaks. A complete energy assessment will also determine where your home needs more insulation.

Here are other ways to find air leaks yourself.

Visual Inspection

Outside, inspect areas where two different building materials meet, while inside, you can check around door and window frames. Also, check for gaps or cracks in the caulking and weather stripping and if the seals are tight on exterior storm doors and primary doors. Try to rattle the windows since movement means possible air leaks. A good way to know if they permit leaks is if you see daylight around a door or window frame; if light can get in, so can air and the elements. The good news is, you can usually seal these leaks by caulking or weather stripping them.

Consider replacing your old windows and doors with newer, high-performance ones. If they are too costly, you can install low-cost plastic sheets over the windows.

Pressurization Test

If you are having difficulty locating leaks, do a basic pressurization test that will increase infiltration through cracks and leaks, making them easier to detect. You can also turn on all exhaust fans that blow air outside or use a large window fan to suck the air out of the rooms. Light an incense stick and pass it around the edges of suspected leak sites; wherever the smoke wavers or blows out of or into the room, there’s a draft. You can also use a damp hand to locate leaks because drafts will feel cool to your hand.

If you still can’t find the air leaks using the above methods, let Handyman Connection of San Mateo help you. We can do a blower door test and a complete energy assessment and solve your air leak problems. Call us at (650) 437-8995.

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