Quick Tip - Is your home air tight?
Have you ever moved into a home that was about the same size as your last and mysteriously the energy bill is significantly lower? There are a number of reasons that could cause this usually just newer more efficient products and building practices.
Most people can't afford to upgrade their windows and doors just like that because it can be pretty pricey. If you rent the house, it's very unlikely you'd be willing to shell out that kind of cash for a house you will be moving out of in a few years, even if the land lord was cool with it.
Today we are focusing on one cause of high energy bills that you as a homeowner or rental tenant can easily find and fix yourself if a cost effective manner: Air flow management.
How to check if your home is air tight
If your home is not air tight, your HVAC unit is working harder than it needs to causing more electricity to be used and the energy bill to go up.
The first step in checking to see if you your home is air tight would be to give is a shake! If a window or door moves or rattles in place it is not tightly secure and air can definitely get through it.
Visual Light Check
Next step would be do a visual light check of all the openings. Make your home as dark as possible during the day by closing all the blinds and curtains and cutting off the lights. The sunnier the day is outside the better. You should be checking:
Doors(including between unfinished garages and home)
Now walk the home and check if you see any light coming from the seals around the openings. In the case of solid doors, make sure there is no light coming through the door itself. You also want to make sure there are no cracks in window panes. If you see any light or cracks, that means it is not sealed properly.
Home Air Pressure Test
A home air pressure test is slightly more involved but very efficient in finding air gaps where there is no light penetration. To preform a home pressure test follow these steps:
Seal the home by closing and locking all doors, windows and skylights
Close all the dampers and vents you can
Turn on all bathroom and kitchen vents(this will create a vacuum effect that will pull air into the home)
light an incense stick and then pass it along all openings int he home, if you see the smoke being sucked out at any point, you've found your air leak.
Fixing most air tightness issues in a home is simple. If replacing older products with newer more energy efficient products isn't an option, you can easily:
Fix any broken or loose locking mechanisms making sure doors and windows are snug in their enclosures
Re-caulk around windows
Add or replace broken weather stripping under and around doors
Make sure skylights are sealed on the ceiling side and the roof side