Did you know that air leakage can account for up to 25% of winter heat loss is buildings? Or if you live in a hot climate, that could be 25% of the cool air produced by expensive air conditioning systems.
By taking the time and advice to seal your home properly you can expect to reduce both your financial costs (energy bills) and damage to the environment (through carbon emissions).
Many people do worry that too much sealing and insulation can create problems with air quality inside the property as well as condensation. However it’s simply a matter of sealing your home effectively and taking into consideration a number of factors.
Which Parts Of Your Home Should be Sealed?
There are a number of key areas where air generally leaks through. If you work hard to seal these efficiently, you’ll notice an almost instant drop in the amount of energy you use cooling or heating your home.
The largest air leakage in homes is generally from floors, walls and ceilings with features such as fire places also accounting for over 10% of leakages.
Areas to target include:
- Doors and windows
- Vents, skylights and exhaust fans
- Ceiling insulation
- Pipes, power outlets and switches
- Element junctions
When Is The Best Time to Seal Your Home?
If you’re designing or building a home from scratch, you should absolutely including sealing as a key stage of the process. Similarly, if you’re refurbishing or renovating your home, this is an excellent time to seal it properly.
Don’t worry if neither of these apply to you – simply plan your sealing around a time of year when temperatures are at their least extreme. Consider the area where you live and the weather conditions and temperatures you experience in each season.
How Do You Know if Your Home is Leaking?
There are several ways to detect leaks and you can either do these yourself or you can employ experts to come in and assess the situation for you. It’s definitely worth taking the time to detect leaks properly to avoid issues being left unnoticed and developing into bigger problems.
Try to plan a schedule for sealing leaks – ideally you want to tackle ceiling level leaks before floor leaks as these lose more heat. Equally, larger holes or cracks will obviously leak more air than smaller ones – yet remember that all of them will eventually need attention.
What Are The Key Steps to Sealing Your Home?
- You need to identify all the obvious gaps – make a list of them and start with the most pressing. Having written a list, you can also then go back and check them regularly to ensure sealing methods have been effective.
This step is the most important and many people simply stop here, enjoying a well sealed home with far fewer air leaks and a substantially reduced amount of energy use.
- You can also depressurise your home – this sounds extreme but it’s an effective technique which will certainly help in your quest for an energy efficient home.
Ideally depressurise your home on a cool or windy day. Close all windows and doors and turn off any units which blow air into the house. Instead, turn on all fans possible to help suck air out. You can then use an incense stick or similar to pass around common leak sites – if smoke is blown back into the room, you’ve identified an air leak.
You can reverse this process to pressurise your home and identify further issues.
Should You Go Further with Professional Help?
For some people, just sealing windows and door frames will feel like enough. For those who want to take things further and really ensure that their home is operating at its optimal efficiency, there are a few things to consider.
- Thermal Imaging: you can either hire a team to carry out a thermal imaging study of your home, or you can hire equipment and do it yourself. Some digital cameras now even have thermal imaging functions on them already.
- Professional Inspections: with the help of qualified technicians, you can have air leak audits carried out on your home. Many companies offer building sealing services and tests such as the ‘Blower Door’ test can help to measure the air tightness of your home.