What Are Air Leaks? And Why Do They Increase Energy Consumption?

what are air leaks and why do they increase energy consumption

Air leaks refer to situations whereby a home or property experiences the loss of conditioned air or heat via cracks and unsealed openings. Unlike ventilation, air leaks are uncontrolled and can often become quite aggravating to those experiencing the leakage. While the condition might seem minor, it not only affects a homeowner’s comfort by fluctuating the temperature within the property, but it may also be quite costly in the long run.


In this article, we will help you to identify air leaks in your home or property. We will also indicate how to combat the issue.


How To Detect Air Leaks?


If your house is experiencing unexplainable cold spells or heatwaves despite your air conditioner or heating system, you might be dealing with an air leak. Identifying the problem can be done in several ways.


  1. The Flashlight Test – Homeowners who have a general idea of where an air leak might exist, can check using a flashlight at night. This test is a two-person identification process as one person is required to shine the beam of the light at the place where they believe the leak exists while the other must stay outside and observe. If the light filters through the house, you have possibly found your air leak.


  1. Pressurization Test – A more intricate way of testing for an air leak is by conducting a pressurization test. Precautions must first be taken to perform this test. Ideally conducted on a mildly windy day; first, all windows and doors should be shut and fireplaces covered. Next, homeowners should ensure that appliances such as gas furnaces and heaters are switched off. Then using an incense stick, homeowners should move past all possible air leakage points. If the incense smoke is seen to move towards the walls or towards the room, then you have detected a possible air leakage.



How To Seal Air Leaks


Once the source of the air leak has been identified, correcting it is usually a simple job. Depending on the size and the location of the air leak, solutions might differ. For example, air leaks located around windows and doors can be rectified using either caulk or weatherstrips; the choice is down to the homeowner’s discretion.

Air leaks located around electrical wiring and plumbing might also be fixed using caulk. But in cases where the air leak is impossible to detect or correct, alternative solutions must be found.


Air Leaks And Energy Consumption


While fluctuating temperatures caused by air leaks might be annoying, the actual cost of the disruption lies in the increased energy consumption. The Energy Saving Trust has found that in cases of draught-proofing around only windows and doors, homeowners stand to save up to £20 per year. When such numbers are compared to houses with numerous air leaks, the amount of money lost to cooling and heating a residence is astounding.


However, as mentioned above, there are cases where individuals cannot completely fix their air leaks, in which case the best option is to minimize energy costs. By installing solar panels, customers can not only mitigate the costs wracked up by air leaks, but they also stand to save money on their overall electricity bill. In Massachusetts alone, EnergySage has identified that customers can save up to $42,021 over 20 years.


With such savings possible, it is easy for homeowners to no longer worry if they cannot fix the air leaks their property might suffer from. While air leaks will still drain your energy, solar panels can ensure that they don’t empty your pockets.


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