A lot of people have heard about the importance of switching out Thomas Edison’s old incandescent light bulbs for energy saving bulbs such as LED or CFL. The same goes for replacing your old fossil fuel based car with one that runs on electricity. Energy efficiency and energy conservation is becoming increasingly important and people are starting to realize that everyone can contribute. In this article we are taking a closer look at something that takes up a few hours of your time, but potentially have a significant impact on saving the environment – not to mention your energy bill!

I’m talking about sealing air leaks in your house. A lot of buildings lack in these areas, which results in heat seeping in or out of your house and because of this, more energy expenditure.

The best way to deal with issues like this is to have a professional energy audit and a consultation on how to improve the energy efficiency in your house. However, if you can’t afford this, there is a good method you use to detect air leaks on your own:

1. Depressurize Your Home

Depressurizing your home is the first step. Close all windows and doors – and anything else that you can think of where air can seep in or out of the building. Now you want to switch of air conditioners, furnaces and anything else that moves air around in the building.

The next step is to force air either in or out of the building. Since you have closed everything, the air is forced to move through leaks. How do you do this? This is a good question and also probably the hardest part with the technique. In a professional energy audit one would usually have a blower door fan that could do this job – you will have to settle with an exhaust fan or a dryer. Turn it on in the room that you want to examine for leaks.

Another way to create this suction (the opposite way) is to open a window and place a large fan facing outwards in it. When you switch this on, air from within the room will flow out the window, and air from the outside of the building will have to move in the air leaks to make up for the pressure loss.

2. Detect Leaks

Image courtesy of Mathias Aarre Maehlum

Above is an illustration over typical air leaks in and out of a building. Make sure to examine these areas in your home.

This is where the fun starts. Get a hold of an incense-stick, light it on fire, and examine potential air leaks in your building. If you hold the stick close enough to potential leaks, the smoke should either be sucked into the leak or pushed outwards (depending on which method you used to depressurize your home). Note all leaks in a sheet of paper.

3. Sealing the Leaks

You can now either seal the leaks by using weatherstripping or caulking. If you are not sure how to use these techniques just ask the retailer where you buy these things – they should have a lot of experience sealing leaks.

Find out more information on how you can increase energy efficiency; conserve energy and ultimately reducing your carbon footprint at EnergyInformative.

Guest post by Mathias Aarre Maehlum for EnergyInformative.