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Detecting air leaks in your home

Wooden Door and Gold Doorknob

You can have the most efficient heating system available, installed by a top Arlington HVAC service, but if the walls of your home have cracks and holes that are letting air escape, you'll be dealing with inefficiencies that can dramatically increase your utility expenses. As Home Depot points out on their website, a 1/8-inch crack around a door is like having a 5 1/2-inch hole drilled into a wall in terms of heating loss. For this reason, it's a good idea for homeowners to check for air leaks around their home.

Many residents will hire home energy auditors to perform a blower door test on their house. This involves shutting all doors and windows and turning on a large fan to depressurize the interior of the home, then using a smoke pencil to detect any points around door and window frames.

If you don't want to spend the money to hire a home energy professional to carry out this test, Home Depot recommends taking the following steps:

  1. On a windy day, close all your doors and windows and turn off your HVAC system.
  2. Turn on any bath or stove vents.
  3. Light a stick of incense, check around door and window frames, as well as any areas where you suspect there may be air leakage.

If the smoke from the incense stick gets sucked into the house, then you've found a leak, and you should use caulk or weatherstripping to close it in order to prevent further heating loss.

It's also important to make sure your HVAC system is functioning properly and has clean filters. Before winter sets in, we recommend calling the Washington DC HVAC service professionals at John C. Flood to have your heater serviced.