San Diego may not have the coldest winters in the country, but it can get nippy. During those times when we have to use the heat, it's important we do so efficiently. That means ensuring that we've eliminated cold air leaks around the house and in the ductwork system.
Finding Air Leaks
Finding where cold air leaks originate and where the warm air may be exiting can be a challenge. The very best way is to schedule an energy audit by a qualified technician. He or she will use professional equipment to conduct a blower door test, creating negative pressure in your home so leaks can be detected better. Thermographic imaging might also be employed to find air leaks.
However, if you're not willing to pay for this kind of test, you can perform your own. Light an incense stick and hold it in front of typical sites for air leaks, such as these:
- Door and window frames
- Recessed lighting
- Attic hatch
- Electric plugs
- Holes in exterior walls where plumbing, wires and cables come through
If the smoke wavers, you have a leak. Note: use care when dealing with fire.
As for your ductwork, a professional can use a duct leakage detector to test your ducts.
Fixing Air Leaks
You can easily fix most of the air leaks mentioned above with weatherstripping, caulk, and insulation. Or hire a technician to do the following:
- Caulk around window and door frames; also baseboards.
- Add weatherstripping between double doors and between glass panes.
- Install fire-rated, insulated boxes around recessed lighting in the attic.
- Add weatherstripping around the edges of the attic hatch; add a layer of insulation on the cover.
- Install foam gaskets inside electric plugs.
- Fill in holes in exterior walls for plumbing, wires and cables with insulation.
Hire a technician to fix ductwork air leaks.
For more on cold air leaks, contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning, serving the greater San Diego area, including La Costa, Encinitas, Ranch Bernardo and Poway.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).