Homes are not built to be airtight. Structures need to breathe in order to expand and contract without causing damage. Even the most efficient home will have some air leaks, but minimizing those leaks will save money on your energy bill. Drafty homes lose heat in the winter and cool air in the summer, forcing your HVAC system to work longer and harder. The efficiency of a home depends on identifying the probable areas of leakage and addressing them.
Old insulation can fall from where it was originally installed, causing drafty areas in the home. If there are gaps or water leaks around the insulation, it can deteriorate and cause air leaks. A clear sign that this has happened would be discolored insulation, mold, or discolored drywall. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. An easy fix for this is to use spray foam insulation Maryland. Spray foam can be used to seal small or large areas and doesn’t make as much of a mess as other types of installation.
Doors and windows are the cause of air leakage because they open and close. However, there are many products that can be purchased at any hardware store which will reduce this type of leakage. Caulk and weather-stripping can be used around windows. Storm windows can also be installed over old windows to prevent drafts. Flexible channels can be installed at the base of the door to prevent air from leaking between the door and the floor.
Any part of the home that opens to the outside can leak air. There are more holes in a home than most people realize. Dryer vents can leak air if not installed properly. Dryer exhaust vents wear out and work their way loose, which allows for air, and sometimes critters, to get into a home. Fireplaces are another problem area. Flue dampers should be kept closed when the fireplace is not being used.
Light switches and wall outlets may also leak air. You can purchase foam gaskets, which get installed behind the plate, to stop air from coming in or out through the walls. These products are not very expensive. The easiest way to tell if your switches and outlets are leaking air is to hold your hand in front of them on a cold day. If you feel cold air, then there is a leak.
With fewer air leaks, HVAC systems work more efficiently and cost you less money. If you feel a draft in your home, don’t turn up the HVAC, try to patch the leak.